Kosovo: Mabetex admits it wanted to buy Yumco from Serbia

Prishtinë, May 25, 2006 – The “Mabetex” company of the Pacolli family is revealed as the “anonymous” bidder which tried to buy the “Yumco” enterprise through a privatisation scheme in Serbia for €4.1 million, Selim Pacolli, the brother of the known businessman Behxhet Pacolli, admitted to Koha Ditore.

“We had requested that before bidding, the land possession list be sent, the manner of establishment, funds used for establishment, the property origin and above all, the consent of the KTA,” said Pacolli. He also said that all documents were provided without KTA’s consent. “The KTA Director, Jasper Dick, did not give his consent and we therefore did not try to purchase the enterprise from Serbia,” said Selim Pacolli.

Sources inside KTA Privatisation Department told Koha Ditore that Pacollis made an offer to Serbia to the amount of € 4.1 million, “but at the request of senior KTA officials not to undertake SOE privatisation in Serbia, the sale was prevented.” Koha Ditore informs that according to Selim Pacolli, Arten Bajrushi from the KTA Privatisation Department sent him e-mail, offering him to buy the enterprise [although not clearly stated in the paper it is understood this offer was made via the KTA privatisation programme] at the price of € 4.1 million, on 24 March. He shows another e-mail he sent to Kirk Adams, Privatisation Director, in which he writes: “I have been contacted by Arten Bajrushi on your behalf in relation to our participation in the tender for the SOE Yumco announced on 10 March 2005 in Serbia, in which we have been proclaimed winners of the bid for Yumco.” In this e-mail, Pacolli wrote that Bajrushi asked him if the company is still interested in buying Yumco at the same price that they offered to Serbia, but that it has to subject to approval by the KTA.

Arten Bajrushi, from the KTA Privatisation Department, stated that he made this offer at the request of the KTA Legal Office. “But Pacolli later withdrew from this purchase,” said Bajrushi.

Koha Ditore also possesses a letter from the KTA’s Department of Privatisation in which the KTA recommends the acceptance of an offer by a Kosovar submitted to the Privatisation Agency of Serbia. Pillar IV and the KTA had refused to disclose the identity of such a bidder.

Koha Ditore says that the KTA claimed to have jurisdiction on these assets and as a consequence, the Serbian tender was cancelled.

Two members of the KTA Board, the Minister of Economy and Finances, Haki Shatri, and the head of BSPK, Bahri Shabani, had openly opposed any “sale of Kosovar SOEs through the Serbian agency”.