Behgjet Pacolli

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Behgjet Pacolli
Behgjet Pacolli in 2015
1st Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo
In office
15 April 2011 – 9 December 2014
President Atifete Jahjaga
Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi
Preceded by Hajredin Kuçi
Succeeded by Hashim Thaçi
3rd President of Kosovo
In office
22 February 2011 – 4 April 2011
Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi
Preceded by Jakup Krasniqi (acting)
Succeeded by Jakup Krasniqi (acting)
Personal details
Born (1951-08-30) 30 August 1951 (age 65)
Marevcë (near Pristina), FPR Yugoslavia
Political party New Kosovo Alliance (Before and after during the presidency in 2011)
Other political
Independent (during the presidency in 2011)
Spouse(s) Anna Oxa (1999–2002)
Masha Pacolli
Religion Islam[1]

Behgjet Isa Pacolli[a] (born 30 August 1951; Albanian pronunciation: [bɛhˈɟɛt päˈt͡so:ɫɪ][2]) is a former President of the Republic of Kosovo[b], and First Deputy Prime Minister in the cabinet of Hashim Thaçi in which he served until the formation of the new government on 9 December 2014.[3] Pacolli was one of the signatories of 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence.

On 30 March 2011 the Constitutional Court of Kosovo declared that the constitution was broken during his election as President and he was no longer President of the Republic of Kosovo, with immediate effect.[4] Pacolli stated that he respected the decision of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo and that he would not offer his resignation but he would leave his offices from 30 March 2011.

He is the President and CEO of Mabetex Group, a Swiss-based construction and civil-engineering company. Pacolli was also the President of the third biggest political party in Kosovo the New Kosovo Alliance.[5] For the past four years, he has been involved in Kosovar politics. He is believed to be the world's richest ethnic Albanian.[6]

Behgjet was the second of a family of 10 children who grew up, like most in Kosovo at the time, in the poor countryside. Similarly to thousands of other ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, Pacolli moved to Western Europe in search of job opportunities.

As a young man, Pacolli contacted companies throughout Austria and Germany seeking work and, soon after his release, he joined an Austrian company, for which he worked as a sales representative for Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia. Two years later, he moved to Switzerland and joined a Swiss company he had gotten to know in Moscow.[6]

Early life and career[edit]

Behgjet Pacolli is the son of Isa and Nazmije. He is Kosovo Albanian by ethnicity but has Swiss citizenship as well. In the 1970s, he emigrated to Hamburg, West Germany, where he achieved a bachelor's degree in Economics, specializing in Marketing and Management. In 1974, he completed his military service in the Yugoslav army and returned to Kosovo. In 1976, Pacolli moved to Switzerland where he became one of the top managers of Interplastica, an engineering company cooperating with the countries of the Soviet bloc.

In 1990, together with former shareholder Hilmi Kllapija, 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 insurance, media, construction, etc.

International projects[edit]


Pacolli's group is known for having renovated the Kremlin in grand scale, lavish in gold leaf and with other extravagant materials.[7]

In 1992, during construction projects in Yakutia, Russia, Pacolli closely cooperated with the Yakutsk mayor Pavel Borodin. When Borodin had become the presidential property manager, Mabetex won several important contracts to reconstruct, renovate and refurbish the former Russian Federation Parliament, the Russian Opera House, State Duma and the Moscow Kremlin. Mabetex also constructed the first luxury hotel, the Swiss Diamond Hotel, in the new Russian era.[citation needed] In 1998, Prosecutor General of Russia Yuri Skuratov opened a bribery investigation against Mabetex which was dropped after he left his office, and accused Pacolli personally of bribing President Boris Yeltsin’s family members. In 2000 Pacolli sued Skuratov in a Russian court for defamation. He won the case and Skuratov was ordered to pay one million Russian ruble to Pacolli for damages.[8][9][10][11][12][13]


Mabetex is currently working in Kazakhstan, where it has played an important role in the construction of the new capital, Astana, with one of the awarded projects completed there being the new Presidential Palace. One of the greatest symbols of Mabetex’s achievements in Kazakhstan has been the transformation of the President’s residence. It is now a luxurious presidential residence whose splendour is a delight to visiting foreign dignitaries and to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who works there. Situated on the left bank of the river Essy, its architecture combines classic, modern and ethnic influences. The president’s residence is part of a complex of modern administrative buildings in the new center of the city – and its main purpose is to symbolize the new face of Kazakhstan.[14] The Group, is a major player in the Kazakhstan construction sector having built nearly 40% of the buildings in the New Astana City.[15] One of the latest projects is the new Classical Theatre of Opera and Ballet, it is the largest opera house in Central Asia and was officially opened on June 21, 2013.[16]

The Group built the Presidential Complex of the new capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, measuring more than a million square metres.[17]
Mabetex was the main contractor and developer of the Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall venue.


In Italy, the Mabetex Group was responsible in the study and project for the refurbishment of the La Fenice theatre in Venice after it was burned.[18]

Interior of La Fenice in 2007


In Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, his group constructed the award-winning project for the City Hall. The Engineer for this project was former shareholder and partner of Pacolli, Hilmi Kllapija.[citation needed]


On 17 March 2006, Pacolli founded the political party New Kosovo Alliance (AKR), which took part in the 2007 parliamentary election and came third. During these elections he declared property worth €420 million.[19] 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.

Since 2004, Behgjet Pacolli has continued his lobbying efforts on behalf of Kosovo by supporting numerous institutions and advocacy groups and lobbying foreign governments, institutions and international agencies to support Kosovo's full independence and recognition. Pacolli is an international councilor of the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies).[20] Since Kosovo's declaration of independence in February 2007, Pacolli has been working diligently lobbying countries to officially recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Pacolli has travelled to several countries to lobby for recognition of Kosovo's independence and is continuing to do so. 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.[21][22][23][24]

Behgjet Pacolli is since 2011 First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, with a mandate for recognitions and foreign investments, Pacolli has proven a creative approach at his work. Focusing in African region, in influential countries and changing of institutional and regulation for foreign investment, with the aim of creating an attractive environment for business, there are two innovations of his work in the first months of his engagement. Everything on the basis of a detailed work platform of the Deputy Prime Minister.[25]

Presidency of Kosovo[edit]

Seal of the President of Kosovo

On 22 February 2011, Behgjet Pacolli was elected President of Kosovo as a part of a power sharing agreement with Hashim Thaçi.[26] The same day the parliament of the Republic of Kosovo chose Pacolli as the President of the Republic.[21][22][23][24] Pacolli submitted his resignation after the Constitutional Court’s opinion was that: "the Decision of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, No. 04-V-04, concerning the election of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, dated 22 February 2011, is unconstitutional - and shall no longer be in force rom the date of its publication pursuant to Article 116.3 of the Constitution - since it is contrary to the requirements of Article 86 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and the democratic principles enshrined therein".[27] He announced he would run for presidency again in the immediate election. Later, he agreed to have Atifete Jahjaga elected as president until 2012 when a constitution reform would mandate new direct presidential elections.

Personal life[edit]

Pacolli was married to Anna Oxa, an Italian-Albanian singer, from 1999 to 2002. Previously, he had an affair with a Slovenian and later on an Austrian woman. At present he is married to Russian Maria (Masha) Pacolli (née Sichkova) and is the father of two sons and three daughters.

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. 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.

Pacolli is also internationally known for his work to release UN hostages being held in Afghanistan.[28]

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 her liberation and was successful in doing so.[29][30][31][32]

In 1993, Pacolli established "Les Enfants du Sakha", a fund with the stated goal of providing help in the medical care, education and recreation of children.[33]

Mabetex sent, using its own structure and with the help of its employees, many tons of first aid goods to refugees camps in Albania; helped other institutions in Italy and Switzerland to envoy goods using Mabetex's trucks.[33]

Since the end of the war, Pacolli has set up in Lugano, the Foundation for the Organisation and Reconstruction of Kosovo (FORK), through which he has been channelling aid to the province. Pacolli has employed several thousand Kosovar Albanians in projects across the world, as well as building houses, providing food, and opening schools for famililes.[6]

Pacolli’s humanitarian foundation "Behgjet Pacolli" has constructed and furnished the American University in Kosovo, in Pristina.[4] and now students from around the world attend including the ones from Kosovo.

Pacolli also financially supports the SEED Foundation (South East European Development) and is an international councillor of the CSIS (Centre for Strategic and International Studies).[20]

On July 2010, International Union for Peace honoured the president of AKR (New Kosovo Alliance), Behgjet Pacolli with the special price "Cavaliere della Pace", (Cavalier of Peace). Pacolli is well known for his humanitarian activities during the last decades toward the people not only in Kosovo, but also around the world.[34]

Honours and awards[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


a.   ^ Albanian: Behgjet Isa Pacolli, Serbo-Croatian: Behđet Isa Pacoli.
b.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Interview with Pacolli in Albanian on YouTube
  3. ^ John Kerry (2014). "Government Formation in Kosovo". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (2010). "Background Note: Kosovo". Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Chris Bennett (1999). "Living The Life Of Behgjet". Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  7. ^ Andrew Jack (2004). Inside Putin's Russia: Can There Be Reform Without Democracy?. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Илья Вукелич; Андрей Терехов (January 2006). Балканский Мабетекс (in Russian). Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  9. ^ Michael Wines (September 1999). "The Kremlin's Keeper, the World at His Fingertips, Is Under a Cloud". New York Times. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  10. ^ Ian Traynor; Peter Capella (February 2000). "Swiss investigators order arrest of top Yeltsin aide". London: Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  11. ^ Philip Willan; James Meek (August 1999). "Yeltsin family 'took bribes'". London: Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  12. ^ Бородин, Павел (in Russian). Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  13. ^ Екатерина Заподинская (August 2000). Беджет Паколли признан чистоплотным. Он выиграл суд со Скуратовым (in Russian). Газета "Коммерсантъ". Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  14. ^ CNN Traveler Promotion (2008). "Kazakhstan's capital develops into a gem" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 February 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  15. ^ (2009). "COREPRIME Enters Kazakhstan Design Competition for Iconic President's Library Project with SAMOO Architects". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  16. ^ Edge Magazine KZ (2013). "Curtain Goes up at Central Asia's Largest Opera House". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  17. ^ World Investment News (2002). "Kosovo". Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Ricostruzione "La Fenice" - Venice
  19. ^ Kosovo politicians refuse to reveal sources of wealth, B92, 17 October 2007.
  20. ^ a b "International Councilor" - CSIS, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  21. ^ a b Vjosa Musliu (2009). "Pacolli Lobbies for Kosovo in Africa". Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Giulietto Chiesa (2005). "La resistibile ascesa del sig. Pacolli - 30-12-05". Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Anko Ordoñez & Sara Danni (2009). "Interview with Behgjet Pacolli". Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  24. ^ a b Koha Ditore, Lajm (2009). "Businessman lobbies Libya to recognise Kosovo". 
  25. ^,42
  26. ^ "New President of Kosovo is Disliked". Kosovo: New Leader Had Ties to Russia. Reuters. 22 February 2011. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  27. ^ "Constitutional Review of the Decision of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, No. 04-V-04, concening the election of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, dated 22 February 2011." (PDF). Constitutional Review of the Decision of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, No. 04-V-04, concening the election of the President of the Republic of Kosovo,. Embassy of the United States. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  28. ^ The World Water Organization (2009). "Executive & Advisory Boards". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  29. ^ Liam Clarke (28 November 2004). "UN 'did nothing to help hostages'". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  30. ^ Corriere Della Sera (2006). "Pacolli: ho avuto un ruolo anch' io". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  31. ^ L'Espresso (2006). "TORSELLO: ANCHE PACOLLI NELLE TRATTATIVE PER LIBERAZIONE". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  32. ^ The Jawa Report (2004). "Ransom Paid for UN Hostages?". Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  33. ^ a b World Investment News (2002). "Kosovo". Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  34. ^ Corriere dell'umbria (2010). "Il Centro Pace mette su casa in Albania e Kosovo". Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  35. ^ Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana
  36. ^ Pacolli merr çmimin e paqes në Filipine (in Albanian)
  37. ^ Zëvendëskryeministri Pacolli, nderohet me titullin Kryebashkiak Nderi, i kryeqytetit të Luizianës në SHBA. Atij i dorëzohet edhe qelësi i qytetit (in Albanian), Behgjet Pacolli 2011-12-5
  38. ^
  39. ^ [2]
  40. ^ [3]

External links[edit]