THREAD: Pro-government media in Serbia have launched a smear campaign that falsely ties OCCRP member center @KRIKrs to a Serbian crime gang.

These outlets are putting journalists’ lives in danger. #PressFreedom…
Serbian pro-government tabloids have published stories falsely accusing @KRIKrs and its editor in chief @StevanOCCRP of having ties to the Kavač — a violent Montenegrin gang that KRIK exposed in a major 2020 investigation. 2/…
"This blatantly false accusation puts KRIK journalists in serious danger — by linking them to the Kavač gang’s criminal activities, these pro-state tabloids provide criminal groups justification for murder."

OCCRP Co-Founder @drewoccrp 3/
Pro-government tabloids also targeted KRIK in May 2020, which the Council of Europe (@CoEMediaFreedom) classified at the time as a "smear campaign” by the Serbian state. 4/…
The OCCRP network stands with @KRIKrs, @StevanOCCRP, & truthful reporting in the face of lies intended to put our colleagues in danger. Please RT this thread to support this independent outlet.

@pressfreedom @wppressfreedom @article19org @ECPMF 5/

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More from @OCCRP

12 Mar
NEW: It’s been widely reported that the Estonian branch of Danske Bank let billions in suspicious money move through its accounts.

Now, a previously unseen report obtained by @berlingske provides stunning new details on how this looked in practice. 1/…
The report, produced by Estonian regulators in 2014, reads like a "how-to" of money laundering.

It lists technique after technique the bank’s shady foreign clients used to move large sums.

It also makes clear that the bank had little interest in questioning its clients. 2/
For example, the bank’s "relationship managers" accepted documentation from clients written in Azerbaijani, though no one on the team spoke the language.

(The bank said that one of its employees used Google Translate). 3/
Read 11 tweets
12 Mar
ANNOUNCEMENT: OCCRP is being sued by Stanko Subotić, a powerful Serbian businessman whom we've written about in several investigations.

We stand by our reporting and will not be intimidated by vexatious lawsuits.…
OCCRP Publisher @DrewOCCRP and @krik journalist @DraganaPeco are also named in this suit, which is over this story from 2018. 2/…
Subotić alleges OCCRP and KRIK published the story as part of a media campaign against him orchestrated by the Serbian secret service, the mafia, and corrupt politicians.

"Mr. Subotić has no evidence of these demonstrably false claims," said Sullivan. 3/
Read 7 tweets
11 Mar
NEW: A Miami mansion, ties to Italian crime figures, and a bar shootout.

Meet Artur Shehu: An Albanian businessman who has been accused of building a property empire of stolen land in Albania.

Our investigation with @MiamiHerald: 1/…
Shehu, who offered OCCRP’s reporter "whatever you want" in exchange for dropping the story, is accused of stealing land meant to be returned to Albanians after the collapse of its communist government.

Italian police have linked him to drug trafficking and money laundering. 2/
A former special forces soldier, Shehu allegedly prospered in drug trafficking.

But his time in Albania ended in 1999 after his uncle was gunned down at Shehu’s bar, dying in his arms. 3/
Read 6 tweets
10 Mar
NEW: Two Belarusian businessmen with ties to the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko have sprawling business empires that, we reveal, extend to Lithuania.

OCCRP, @Sienalt, and @Belsat_TV investigate their business activity in this EU member state. 1/…
2/ Alexei Aleksin and Alexander Zaytsev are a new breed of Belarusian businessmen: relatively young, global in outlook, and free from EU sanctions.

The pair emerged just as Belarus’s previous generation of oligarchs were sanctioned.
3/ When Aleksin decided to launch his own cigarette factory, Lukashenko personally redrew the borders of the Belarusian capital to ensure it would be located outside the city, and therefore less encumbered by building regulations.
Read 7 tweets
2 Mar
NEW: Sixteen years after Azerbaijani journalist Elmar Huseynov was gunned down steps from his apartment, OCCRP has obtained FBI files laying out a slew of missteps by Azerbaijani authorities. #ElmarHuseynov 1/…
2/ Huseynov was known for writing that targeted the wealthy and powerful of Azerbaijan. OCCRP reporting shows that with the probe into his death long stalled, one murder suspect has been living freely in Georgia, buying up property.
3/ According to @rebecca_vincent with @RSF_en, the murder "was no doubt intended to send a clear signal not to cross certain red lines, and was effective in creating a chilling effect that can still be felt to this day."
Read 4 tweets
26 Feb
NEW: British American Tobacco has oversupplied Mali with cigarettes for years, knowing their product falls into the hands of traffickers, jihadists, and armed militias.

Our #BigTobacco investigation with @CENOZO_Afrique. 1/…
@CENOZO_Afrique How The Illicit Trade Works:

•BAT oversupplies Mali with cigarette packs with "clean labels," meaning they can be sold widely, including in Europe.
•They are smuggled north through militia-controlled regions
•Insurgents and jihadists linked to IS and al-Qaida profit 2/
@CENOZO_Afrique Islamists, militias, and corrupt officials work together to smuggle BAT’s cigarettes — mainly the Dunhill brand — through Mali’s lawless deserts, sources told OCCRP.

“Armed groups play the role of customs,” an ex-employee of a BAT distributor said. “Yes, [BAT] knows.” 3/
Read 8 tweets

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