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Kosovo bank leader arrested in corruption probe

By the CNN Wire Staff
Police escort Central Bank Governor Hashim Rexhepi out of the Kosovo Central Bank compound in Pristina on July 23, 2010.
Police escort Central Bank Governor Hashim Rexhepi out of the Kosovo Central Bank compound in Pristina on July 23, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Officials say Hashim Rexhepi was arrested after investigators searched his home
  • Police also searched the homes of three others suspects
  • The investigation includes allegations of accepting bribes and money laundering
RELATED TOPICS
  • Kosovo
  • European Union

(CNN) -- Authorities arrested the governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo on Friday after searching his house and office as part of a corruption investigation, the European Union Rule of Law Mission said in statement.

A prosecutor authorized the arrest of Hashim Rexhepi after the search, which the statement said was connected with an investigation into allegations of abusing official position or authority, accepting bribes, tax evasion, trading in influence and money laundering.

In addition to Rexhepi's home and the bank, police also searched a private company and the homes of three other suspects, the statement said. It did not provide further details about the allegations.

Pieter Feith, the European Union's special representative in Kosovo, has said corruption is a significant problem there.

"The major obstacles to desperately needed foreign investment are the interlinked issues of weak governance, widespread corruption and the breaches in rule-of-law," Feith said during prepared remarks before a European Parliament committee in June.

On Thursday, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 was legal. The Central Bank of Kosovo was established in June 2008.

Serbia maintains Kosovo's move for independence was illegal and that it remains a part of the Serbian republic.

 
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