Asanaj murder raises Kosovo questions

Dino Asanaj, director of the Kosovo privatisation agency (PAK), has died of stab wounds after an attack in his private office in Pristina, Blomberg reported on Thursday.

Asanaj, who held dual Kosovo-US citizenship, was attacked by unknown assailants in the gated “international village” on the outskirts of Pristina – an upmarket housing project which he directed as a private venture.

Shkumbin Bicaj of the privatisation agency told beyondbrics: “Unfortunately this is a shocking news to all of us – as yet there is no information as how it happened – the investigation is ongoing.”

“This is not good news from several angles,” one banker in Kosovo told beyondbrics, indicating it was a blow to the young country’s struggle to establish the rule of law and a positive image to attract foreign investment.

Asanaj, who had lived and worked as a contractor in the US for a number of years, was associated with several controversial deals in his time at PAK, including the expropriation of land for a new campus for the American University in Kosovo.

Despite his sometimes unorthodox approach, he won the respect of western colleagues.

“I learned to appreciate him as a man. We had our professional disagreements over time, but it always stayed at that level,” one western adviser told beyondbrics, who said he was in mourning.

Related reading:
Privatisation: Transfer of power sees legal tangles proliferate, FT
Tourism: Privatisation tests water in outdoor idyll, FT
Kosovo Special Report 2010, FT