PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Prosecutors representing the European Union have cleared a former judge for the EU mission that monitors the criminal justice system in Kosovo of corruption allegations.
A statement Monday from Kosovo's prosecutor-general's office said former EULEX Judge Francesco Florit did not solicit or accept bribes from the defendants in two cases overseen by the agency.
The same probe also cleared three Albanian lawyers in Kosovo who were alleged to have tried to bribe the judge.
Florit was suspected of accepting a bribe of 300,000 euros ($373,000 at the time) to secure the release of Kosovo criminals. Suspicion was raised in 2012 when transcripts of intercepted phone calls between a jailed Kosovo minister and intermediaries suggested Florit was willing to secure the release of three suspected killers.
In response, the United Nations partially lifted the Italian judge's immunity, clearing the way for a corruption investigation.
Florit, who since has left the mission, denied the claims.
The EULEX mission has supported Kosovo on its path to European integration in the areas of rule of law and fighting corruption since 2008, when Pristina declared independence from Serbia.
Concerned that the investigation had tarnished its image, EULEX and the EU office in Pristina hailed the investigation's conclusion and said they were "confident that the integrity of EULEX affected staff is hereby fully restored."