19 ex-officials in Kosovo charged with abuse of power

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Kosovo’s prosecution office charged 19 former senior officials on Friday with abuse of power for allegedly causing at least 13.7 million euros ($15 million) in losses to the public budget.

A statement said the ex-officials, including four former ministers, exceeded their competencies in ordering the privatization of four hydro power stations.

Corruption in Kosovo, one of the poorest countries in the continent, remains a top challenge for its economic development.

If convicted, the defendants may be jailed for up to five years.

Kosovo, a former province of the former Yugoslavia until NATO intervened in 1999 to end Serbia’s bloody crackdown on the country’s ethnic Albanian nationalists, declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty.

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