PRISTINA, Kosovo — At least seven people, including a former senior health ministry official and an Israeli citizen, are suspected of involvement in an international network that falsely promised poor people payment for their kidneys and then sold the organs for as much as €100,000 ($137,000), according to an indictment obtained by The Associated Press.
The indictment is the starkest revelation of the extent of organized crime in the country since Kosovo declared independence in 2008.
The organized criminal group trafficked people into Kosovo for the purpose of removing human organs for transplant, EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel said in the indictment. Some 20 foreign nationals "were recruited with false promises of payments" in 2008, he wrote.
Victims were promised up to €14,500 euros ($20,000), while recipients were required to pay between €80,000 and €100,000 euros ($110,000-$137,000).