Israeli at center of Kosovo organ trafficking scandal

20 Dec
8:06 PM

Wealthy Israeli citizens on ‘transplant tours’ were the main recipients of trafficked organs in the recently-exposed ‘Kosovo ring’, according to an investigative report by the British ‘Guardian’ newspaper.The Kosovo Liberation Army, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, have also been implicated in the organ trafficking ring. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has launched an investigation, and parliamentarians stated that their findings so far show that the government of Kosovo ‘favored a pragmatic political approach, taking the view that they needed to promote short-term stability at any price, thereby sacrificing some important principles of justice.’

Israeli citizen Moshe Harel was known as the ‘fixer’ in the organ trafficking ring, matching up donors with people willing to pay huge sums for a transplant.

Organ trafficking is illegal under international law, and members of the Kosovo ring are being pursued by Interpol, the international investigative agency.

Suspects Moshe Harel and Dr. Yusuf Ercin Sonmez, who allegedly carried out the operations outside the Kosovar capital city in a private clinic, are both on the run after evading arrest in Kosovo.

This is not the first time that Israelis have been implicated in international organ trafficking schemes. In a massive FBI sting operation in New Jersey in 2009, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum was arrested along with 44 others and charged with buying and selling organs, using Israeli doctors as intermediaries. According to the New Jersey Ledger, “At a 2008 meeting with the undercover agent, Rosenbaum claimed he had an associate who worked for an insurance company in Brooklyn who could take the recipient’s blood samples, store them on dry ice and send them to Israel, where they would be tested to see if they matched the prospective donor, authorities said.”

It’s not yet known if there is any connection between Rosenbaum’s operation and the ‘Kosovo ring’ currently under investigation.

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Saed Bannoura

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