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Friday, January 27, 2023

Golob’s affair with the Prime Minister of Kosovo became too notorious – the Slovenian media came forward and are now trying to rehabilitate

By: Nova24tv.si

The entire journalistic Balkans and most of the rulers in the territory of the former Yugoslavia are already writing about the so-called “Berishaj” affair. The only “oasis of peace” where the alleged connection between the Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob and Martin Berishaj in the international money laundering affair, in which the Slovenian state company Gen-I is said to be involved, is very little reported, is Slovenia. Now the affair has become so notorious that even the Slovenian majority media have started to report on it – although primarily in order to clean up the matter and bring it under control, at least as far as the information flows that reach Slovenia are concerned.

The Albanian newspaper Albanian Times reported on the deals between Martin Berishaj and Robert Golob, where close to 100 million euros were said to be at stake.

“Multi-million sums of money went to Priština from the Gen-I Slovenian state energy company, when it was headed by Robert Golob. The Kosovo ambassador in Zagreb participated in everything, and the payments also went through Tirana,” wrote the Serbian Kurir.

Portal inFokus then published an article showing how the GEN-I company with an office in Belgrade, which also included the name of Kosovo’s ambassador to Croatia, Martin Berishaj, received millions of euros from the state budget just at the time of the energy collapse.

The latest article about the affair, which fills news portals across the Balkans, was written by the online newspaper Kosovo Online. It reports how the political opposition in Kosovo claims that the GEN-I company donated 14 million euros to Albin Kurti’s election campaign.

The Kosovo Corruption Agency filed a criminal complaint against Berishaj, and the media reported that he received at least 1.5 million euros from the GEN-I company from 2019 to April 2022 and thus avoided taxes, they wrote on the portal and added that the opposition in Priština claimed that Prime Minister Albin Kurti is behind everything and that the mentioned company allegedly transferred 14 million euros to him for the election campaign.

Finally, a response in Slovenia as well

The Slovenian response came from the Slovenian media, which is considered by experts to be controlled by the transitional left – the portal 24ur and its sister television Pop TV. The article is primarily an attempt to rehabilitate the damage caused.

On 24ur, Kosovo’s ambassador to Croatia, Martin Berishaj, sums up the words that he does not know Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob, that he has never met him and never had contact with him.

“I do not know the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Robert Golob, I have never met him in my life, and I have never been in contact with him. No matter how many times you recycle fake news, it will remain fake,” said Berishaj.

They add that Golob already said on Wednesday about the allegations that it is a pure fabrication. At the same time, he reminded that this campaign was already launched before the Slovenian elections. “It was launched by the SDS party, and then we found out that Berishaj is actually a friend of Janez Janša. In that moment, the thing in Slovenia disappeared,” they summed up the prime minister’s words, delivered on the 24ur in the evening programme.

24ur also pointed out that Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla Schwarz has no official information about such violations or that an investigative process is underway in this regard. However, they opened a parliamentary investigation in connection with the accusations in Kosovo. However, they forget to say that the accusations are also related to the Kosovo government and Prime Minister Kurti, so his officials have a motive to present the matter as a fabrication as soon as possible.

It seems that the article on the Slovenian portal – one of the first reactions from the Slovenian media – is the first serious attempt to rehabilitate the international damage caused by the coverage of the Berishaj affair. The matter became so internationally notorious that maintaining the Slovenian information bubble became impossible.

What is Berishaj accused of?

Kosovo’s ambassador to Croatia, Berishaj, is accused of withdrawing cash from GEN-I companies, and with the money, together with Golob, he is said to indirectly finance the political campaign of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti. According to the latest information, it is about 100 million euros from the company GEN, which is suspected of financing Kurti’s campaign, through a subsidiary in Tirana, where 14 million euros were transferred.

The Kosovo media reported on other facts of Berishaj’s commercial activity with GEN-I, which Berishaj omitted during his appearance before the commission of inquiry held in the Kosovo Parliament. According to this information, the company GEN deposited 1,470,000€ into Berishaj’s account, which Berishaj did not report to the commission. It is supposed to be money laundering through fictitious accounting.

What will the Slovenian media do?

Time will tell what is true, but it is significant that the Slovenian media started reporting on the affair. For now, only as part of an attempt to rehabilitate, and the question is how long they can succeed if the affair continues to fill international portals. Then our media will also have to consolidate and slowly start looking for the next “sun king”.

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