The Israeli ringleader of a global gang involved in an organ trafficking in Kosovo has been arrested in Cyprus, Kosovan police say.
Moshe Harel is accused of organizing dozens of illegal kidney transplants at the Medicus clinic in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, a decade ago.
“The suspect whose initials are MH was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus following an international arrest warrant,” Kosovan police spokesman Baki Kelani said Saturday.
Poor people from areas in Eastern Europe and Central Asia were allegedly brought to the Medicus clinic after being assured that they would receive up to 15,000 euros ($18,000) for their kidneys.
Recipients, mainly Israelis, would pay up to 100,000 euros for the organs. Some donors never received any money.
The organ scandal came to light in 2008 after a Turkish man whose kidney had been removed was found seriously ill at Pristina airport.
Police raided the clinic, which was shut down following the scandal.
In 2013, an EU-led court in Kosovo sentenced five Kosovan doctors to up to eight years in prison for organ trafficking in the country. They have all denied any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors said at the time of the trial that donors, whose organs were illegally removed, were left without proper medical care and treated “like waste.”
In 2016, Kosovo’s Supreme Court annulled the verdict and ordered a new trial, which is ongoing.