The Kosovo government denounced as baseless a draft European report on Tuesday that accused Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of heading a crime ring in the late 1990s.
The report by Dick Marty, rapporteur for the Council's Parliamentary Assembly committee on legal affairs and human rights, comes a day after results showed Thaci's party won Sunday's first post-independence election.
The Pristina government threatened legal and political action in response to the draft Council of Europe report, which it described as slanderous.
"The government of Kosovo and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci will undertake all the necessary steps and actions to dismiss the slanders of Dick Marty, including legal and political means," it said in a statement.
"It is clear someone wants to hurt Prime Minister Hashim Thaci after the citizens of Kosovo gave him clearly their trust to continue the development programme and the country's governance."
"Thaci and these other 'Drenica Group' members are consistently named as 'key players' in intelligence reports on Kosovo's mafia-like structures of organised crime," said the draft report.
"We found that the 'Drenica Group' had as its chief -- or, to use the terminology of organised crime networks, its 'boss' -- the renowned political operator and perhaps most internationally recognised personality of the KLA, Hashim Thaci."
Marty also cited confidential reports over more than a decade saying that Thaci and others in his group had violent control over heroin and other drug trafficking.
Even Thaci's political opponents denounced the report as a blow against the struggle for independence in Kosovo.
"Regarding the KLA war, the accusations are unacceptable," said Burim Ramadani, general secretary of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) party. "Albanians in Kosovo fought for freedom and not to profit from criminal rings."
Social Democrat leader Agim Ceku, a KLA commander during the 1998-99 war and a former Kosovo prime minister, blamed Belgrade for the allegations.
"Every accusation against the KLA comes from Serbia or its helpers," he told Reuters. "It's just an attempt to blacken our war and our victory."
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) led a 1998-99 guerrilla war against Serbia.
AgenciesLast Mod: 15 Aralık 2010, 12:52