Behgjet Pacolli

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Behgjet Pacolli
Presidenti Behgjet Pacolli.jpg
First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
Assumed office
9 September 2017
Prime MinisterRamush Haradinaj
Preceded byHajredin Kuçi
In office
15 April 2011 – 9 December 2014
Prime MinisterHashim Thaçi
Preceded byHajredin Kuçi
Succeeded byHashim Thaçi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
9 September 2017
Prime MinisterRamush Haradinaj
Preceded byEmanuel Demaj (Acting)
2nd President of Kosovo
In office
22 February 2011 – 4 April 2011
Prime MinisterHashim Thaçi
Preceded byJakup Krasniqi
Succeeded byAtifete Jahjaga
Personal details
Born (1951-08-30) 30 August 1951 (age 67)
Marec, Kosovo
Political partyNew Kosovo Alliance (Before 2011; 2011–present)
Independent (2011)
Spouse(s)Masha Pacolli
Anna Oxa (1999-2002)

Behgjet Isa Pacolli[a] (born 30 August 1951; Albanian pronunciation: [bɛhˈɟɛt päˈt͡so:ɫɪ])[1] is a Kosovo politician who is serving as the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Pacolli is a former President of the Republic of Kosovo, and previously served as the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo between 2011 and 2014.[2] Pacolli was one of the signatories of 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence.

He is the major shareholder of Mabetex Group, a Swiss-based construction and civil-engineering company. Pacolli is also the President of the third biggest political party in Kosovo the New Kosovo Alliance.[3] For the past four years, he has been involved in Kosovar politics. He is believed to be the world's richest ethnic Albanian.[4]

As a young man, Pacolli contacted companies throughout Austria and Germany seeking work and soon after finishing his military service, he joined an Austrian company, for which he worked as a sales representative for ex-Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia. Two years later, he moved to Switzerland and joined a Swiss company he had gotten to know in Moscow.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Behgjet Pacolli (born in Marec, Prishtina) is the son of Isa and Nazmije, the second of ten children, married to Mrs. Masha Pacolli. He is the father of three daughters (Arbresha, Selena, Hana) and three sons (Isa, Diar and Arman). He completed his primary education in Marec and high school in Prishtina. He is Kosovo Albanian by ethnicity but has a Swiss citizenship as well. After receiving his bachelor's degree from the Hamburg Institute of Foreign Trade in Hamburg, Germany (1970-1973), in 1974, he completed his military service in the Yugoslav army and returned to Kosovo.

Behgjet Pacolli went to graduate school at the Mösinger Zurich Institute, where he received his master's degree in Marketing and Management (1980-1982). He speaks various foreign languages, including: English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Serbo-Croatian.[5][6]

In 2018, Pacolli said in Vienna that his ancestors used to be Orthodox Christians,[7] before converting to Islam.


In 1974, Behgjet Pacolli started his career as a Foreign Language Correspondent and Deputy Director for Development at the Textile Enterprise in Gjilan. He held this position until 1975 when he once again left Kosovo to move to the West to pursue career opportunities.

From 1976 to 1980, Behgjet Pacolli held important management positions in several companies, such as, Commercial Director for Regional Development of the company Peter Zimmer in Kufstein, Austria, Commercial Director of Interplastica Project Engineering in Morbio Inf., Switzerland, and afterwards he was named General Director at the same company (Interplastica).

In the fall of 1990, he founded Mabetex Project Management, a construction company based in Lugano, Switzerland, which has developed into a large business group now called the Mabetex Group, with interests in construction, banking, insurance, hospital, media, design, etc.[8]

1998-2005 Russian Corruprion Criminal Cases[edit]

Mabetex Group and its subsidiary Mercata Trading & Engineering SA were involved in international criminal probes in Russian Federation, Switherland and Italy on corruption and money laundering charges for the reonstruction projects in Russian Federation.

On the 8th of October 1998, 1st Assistant of Attorney General of Russian Federation Alexander Mytsikov opened a criminal probe 18/221042-98 on money laundering and the governement official abuse of authority [9].

On the 15 July 1999 Geneva Attorney General Bernar Betrossa opened the money laundering criminal charge [10] [11] against Mr. Paccolli and Mr. Pavel Borodin, the Russian government official in the relation to Russian Duma building reconstruction. As a result of this investigation, Mr. Pavel Borodin was fined €300,000 for his involvement in awarding this contract [12].

In 2003, the Prosecutor's office of Italy launched money laundering charge for the funds received for Russian Duma reconstruction. On October 8th, 2005 Italy issued arrest order for 8 Russian citizens for their involvement in laundering $62,52 million, awarded for Russian Duma reconstruction contract[13].

Political career[edit]

Lobbying for Kosovo Independence[edit]

Behgjet Pacolli's commitment to improving the livelihood in his homeland began soon after the war in Kosovo ended. In 2005 he created the lobbying company "The New Kosovo Alliance", through which he lobbied exclusively for the creation of the country of Kosovo. In this journey, Pacolli collaborated with many important figures in world politics, especially American leaders, such as Frank Carlucci, Morton Abramovitz, S. Waterman, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Janusz Bugajski, Henry Kissinger, and many others. For four years, he was also a member of the board of trustees of the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS),[14] in the Committee led by Henry Kissinger, during which time he continued his lobbying efforts towards creating the appropriate conditions for declaring Kosovo an independent country.

The New Kosovo Alliance's lobbying mission, was considered fulfilled by Pacolli and other members of the organization, at the time when President Bush during his visit to Tirana in June 2007, stated, "Kosovo must be a country, an independent republic, now".[15]

Since Kosovo's declaration of independence in February 2008, Pacolli has been working diligently lobbying countries to officially recognize Kosovo as an independent country.[16] Pacolli continues his lobbying activities all around the world, where he meets senior leaders of world countries in an attempt to convince them of the arguments in favor of recognizing Kosovo’s independence.[17][18][19][20]

New Kosovo Alliance[edit]

On 17 March 2006, The New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) changes its function and is transformed into a political party.

In the 2007 elections, AKR becomes the third party and leads the parliamentary opposition in Kosovo, giving its contribution to the declaration of Kosovo’s independence on February 17th, 2008. During this period, although in opposition, Behgjet Pacolli continued to work towards achieving international recognition of Kosovo's independence.

Pacolli became a deputy in the Assembly of Kosovo and a member of the Committee for Budget and Finance. With Pacolli's rise in politics, he was seen as a great asset not only to Kosovo but to its development.

Seal of the President of Kosovo


On 22 February 2011, Behgjet Pacolli was elected the 3rd President of the Republic of Kosovo.[21] During the first days in his new role, he visited Mitrovica and crossed into Serb-majority North Kosovo to reaffirm Kosovo's authority and sovereignty on the area.[22] Pacolli went on two out-of-the-country visits as the President of Kosovo, visiting Albania[23] and Macedonia.[24]

He left the role (though without formally resigning) on 4 April 2011, after the Constitutional Court of Kosovo had ruled that his election procedure had been irregular.[25]

First Deputy Prime Minister[edit]

After his withdrawal from the president’s office, Behgjet Pacolli decided to continue the co-governance and took on the role of the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo.[26] During this time, with a mandate for recognitions and for foreign investments, he led the lobbying campaign for the recognition and inclusion of Kosovo as a country in the international arena, holding meetings with more than 100 presidents, prime ministers, and kings from many different countries of the world.[27][28] Pacolli has proven a creative approach to his work, focusing in the African region, in influential countries and the change of institutional regulations for foreign investment, with the aim of creating an attractive environment for business.

Behgjet Pacolli continues to lead The New Kosovo Alliance, whose sole mission is the economic development of the Republic of Kosovo, thus improving the livelihood of its citizens and especially the perspective for the youth.

Humanitarian Activities[edit]

Throughout his career in global business, Behgjet Pacolli also developed philanthropic activities. Through the foundation which holds his name, he stimulates the education of youth in elite schools, helps the poor, builds schools, hospitals, supports sports, culture, etc. In 1993, Pacolli established "Les Enfants du Sakha", presently known as "Ibrahim Kodra Foundation" a fund with the stated goal of providing help in the medical care, education and recreation of children.[29] Several times, Pacolli has also been directly involved in the release of hostages in Afghanistan and in other countries undergoing conflict. In 2004, three United Nations workers were taken hostage in Kabul, Annette Flannigan, Angelito Nayan and Shqipe Hebibi, who was from Kosovo and had neither representation nor support from the outside.[30] Behgjet Pacolli traveled to Afghanistan for one month of intensive personal work and negotiations on their behalf and has been credited with securing their release.[31][32] It was two years later that the whole story repeated itself when the Italian citizen, Gabrielle Torsello was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Behgjet Pacolli was contacted by the Italian services in order to negotiate his liberation and was successful in doing so.[33][34]

Just in Kosovo, "Behgjet Pacolli Foundation" has donated over 20 million euros for various projects. Its national and international activities include:

Pacolli is also internationally known for his work to release UN hostages being held in Afghanistan.[35]
Mabetex truck.[29]
  • Main sponsor of the Aleksandër Moisiu Foundation[6]
  • Founder of the Foundation and Orphanages “Bambimi Di Sakha”[36]
  • 1993 – Founder and sponsor of the hospital for the shelter and care of abandoned children born with physical disabilities in Sakha[37]
  • 1999 – In cooperation with the Foundation “Insieme per la pace” and Ms. Fanfani, intervenes massively in offering aid in Kukës, Ivangrad, for the refugees expelled from Kosovo
  • 1999 – Foundation for Rebuilding Kosovo (FORK), Prishtina[38]
  • Support to Kosovo hospitals with pharmaceuticals[39][40][41]
  • 2000-2004 – Support for building the infrastructure of Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK) in Prishtina and contribution towards its professional equipment
  • 2004 – Founder of the foundation South East European Development (SEED)[1], Washington, D.C., (foundation for lobbying and promoting the independence of Kosovo)
  • 2006 – Founder and head of the New Kosovo Alliance (Aleanca Kosova e Re - AKR) political party (AKR is ranked as the third political party in the country, during its first elections in 2007)
  • 2006 – Mediation and release of the journalist taken hostage in Afghanistan, Gabriele Torsello[42]
  • 2006 – Foundation Behgjet Pacolli, Prishtinë, contributes in scholarships, social assistance for people in need, building houses for the poor and other social and cultural contributions
  • 2007 – Designed, sponsored and funded the building of the American University in Kosovo’ campus.[2]
  • 2008-2011 – Permanent lobbying for the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo as an independent and sovereign country[43]
  • 2008 – Financed the reconstruction and restoration of the Mosque of Llap (Xhamia e Llapit) in Prishtina, a building which is enlisted as part of the cultural heritage of Kosovo
  • 2009 – Financed the expansion and construction of the College of Philosophy within the University of Prishtina[44]
  • 2012 – Release of the pilot James Berisha, who was taken hostage in Eritrea.[3] Intensive engagement for the release of Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, arrested by the Eritrean authorities in 2001
  • Sponsor of sports and culture in Kosovo
  • Full support in the construction of houses for the poor (ongoing)
  • Assistance for dozens of patients in receiving the necessary treatment out of the country (ongoing)[45]
  • Social aid for people with disabilities and people in need (monthly stipend) (ongoing)
  • Member of the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS),] Washington, permanent adviser to the committee led by Henry Kissinger

Honors and awards[edit]


  • Founder of the daily newspaper “Lajm” (Eng.: News), founded in 2004.
  • Author of the autobiography “From Challenge to Challenge: Life Behgjet Pacolli”, published in 2010[49]
  • Author of the documentary book “To lobby for Kosovo”. The book is a summary of documents, articles, experiences, and comments on lobbying for the international recognition of Kosovo’s independence. The book was published in 2014.[50]

Notes and references[edit]


a.   ^ Albanian: Behgjet Isa Pacolli, Serbo-Croatian: Behđet Isa Pacoli.


  1. ^ Interview with Pacolli in Albanian on YouTube
  2. ^ John Kerry (2014). "Government Formation in Kosovo". Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  3. ^ Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (2010). "Background Note: Kosovo". Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b Chris Bennett (1999). "Living The Life Of Behgjet". Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  5. ^ "Behgjet Pacolli Biography". Behgjet Pacolli. Archived from the original on 2015-06-17.
  6. ^ a b Thaçi, President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim. "Behxhet Pacolli - President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi". President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  7. ^ "Pacoli: Crkve su i albanske, moji bili pravoslavci..." (in Serbian). Tanjug. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  8. ^[permanent dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Center for Strategic and International Studies". Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  15. ^ Traynor, Ian; editor, Europe; agencies (2007-06-10). "Bush insists Kosovo must be independent and receives hero's welcome in Albania". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  16. ^ "Pacolli Lobbies for Kosovo in Africa :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  17. ^ Vjosa Musliu (2009). "Pacolli Lobbies for Kosovo in Africa". Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  18. ^ Giulietto Chiesa (2005). "La resistibile ascesa del sig. Pacolli - 30-12-05". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  19. ^ Anko Ordoñez & Sara Danni (2009). "Interview with Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  20. ^ Koha Ditore, Lajm (2009). "Businessman lobbies Libya to recognise Kosovo".
  21. ^ Thaçi, President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim. "Behgjet Pacolli elected as new President of the Republic of Kosovo". President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  22. ^ SuperKosovaAlbania (2011-03-26), Kosovo President Behgjet Pacolli visit Mitrovica 25.02.2011, retrieved 2017-08-20
  23. ^ Thaçi, President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim. "President Behgjet Pacolli concluded many official activities in Albania". President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  24. ^ Thaçi, President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim. "President Behgjet Pacolli meets the Deputy Prime Minister of Macedonia Vasko Naumovski". President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  25. ^ "GJK-KS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  26. ^ "The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi takes the decision to appoint Mr. Behgjet Pacolli as First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo - Vesti - Republika Kosovo - Kancelarija Premijera". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  27. ^ "The Republic of Benin is the 80th state to recognize Kosovo's independence". Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Republic of Kosovo. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  28. ^ "Deputy Prime Minister Pacolli meets Ugandan President Museveni - News - The Republic of Kosovo - The Office of the Prime Minister". Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  29. ^ a b World Investment News (2002). "Kosovo". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  30. ^ "BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Briton in Afghan kidnap dispute". Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  31. ^ Liam Clarke (28 November 2004). "UN 'did nothing to help hostages'". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  32. ^ Corriere Della Sera (2006). "Pacolli: ho avuto un ruolo anch' io". Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  33. ^ L'Espresso (2006). "TORSELLO: ANCHE PACOLLI NELLE TRATTATIVE PER LIBERAZIONE". Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  34. ^ The Jawa Report (2004). "Ransom Paid for UN Hostages?". Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  35. ^ The World Water Organization (2009). "Executive & Advisory Boards". Archived from the original on 22 December 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  36. ^ Thaçi, President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim. "Biography - President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi". President of the Republic of Kosovo - Hashim Thaçi. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  37. ^ ln2016 (2016-12-30). "Fituesit e Vitit 2016/ Ilir Meta, Behgjet Pacolli, Armand Shkullaku, Ylli Rakipi". Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  38. ^ "Living The Life Of Behgjet". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  39. ^ "Fondacioni "Behgjet Pacolli" me donacion për spitalin e Gjilanit – Fondacioni Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  40. ^ "Shtretër edhe për Spitalin e Gjakovës nga Fondacioni "Behgjet Pacolli" – Fondacioni Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  41. ^ "Fondacioni "Behgjet Pacolli" me donacion për spitalin e Pejës – Fondacioni Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  42. ^ "Interrogato Bejet Pacolli sul rapimento di Torsello". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  43. ^ "Pacolli Lobbies for Kosovo in Africa :: Balkan Insight". 2013-01-17. Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  44. ^ "Fakulteti Filozofik – Fondacioni Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  45. ^ "Shërime brenda dhe jashtë vendit – Fondacioni Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  46. ^ Behgjet Pacolli (2015-03-03), Lulzim Basha: Behgjet Pacolli është një mik i përhershëm i Tiranës, retrieved 2017-08-22
  47. ^ Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana
  48. ^
  49. ^ Pacolli, Behgjet. "Nga Sfida në Sfidë - Liber nga Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  50. ^ "Të lobosh për Kosovën - Liber nga Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 2017-08-22.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jakup Krasniqi
President of Kosovo
Succeeded by
Atifete Jahjaga
Preceded by
Hajredin Kuçi
First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
Succeeded by
Hashim Thaçi
First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
Preceded by
Emanuel Demaj
Minister of Foreign Affairs