Investigators strike a giant blow against organized crime in Europe. Among the main suspects, who are accused of cocaine trafficking and money laundering on a large scale, is Hamburg clan leader Bashkim Osmani. The search is still on for his accomplice.
Exactly 29 years ago, the Hamburger Morgenpost (Mopo) was the first newspaper in Germany to write about the Osmani family. Dozens of articles followed about the miraculous rise of the Ottomans from Kosovo in Hamburg’s Kiez. The family clan soon became one of the super rich, even wanted to build the Millerntor Stadium and just buy the Mopo. Now, Bashkim Osmani is at the center of a global investigation called the Casino Fantauxia Operation, which also includes the FBI.
It’s about the formation of a criminal organization, money laundering of more than 30 million euros and global drug trafficking. Bashkim Osmani, who owns a villa in Mallorca, was arrested in Croatia and 44 other suspects across Europe. 600 police officers searched 80 objects – three of them in Hamburg.
In addition to Bashkim Osmani, another Hamburg neighborhood size is suspect: Sadri L., also known by the nickname “Albanian Toni”. He is Osmani’s brother-in-law and is said to be deeply involved in the cocaine trade. According to “Bild”, an international arrest warrant has been issued for him.
Sadri L. is a well-known neighborhood figure in Hamburg and was involved in numerous brothels and whorehouses. The investigators suspect that he is in Albania.
The Spanish “Policia Nacional” spoke of “one of the most important drug trafficking organizations in Europe”. The center of the mega deals is said to have been Belgium. Authorities say large quantities of cocaine from South America were imported and sold via the small country by plane, ship or truck. The perpetrators are said to have organized the entire supply chain from cultivation in South America to sales to consumers themselves. In Spain, especially in Mallorca, the proceeds from the drug trade are said to have been “laundered” by using the money to buy real estate, luxury cars or luxury watches, according to investigators.
In 2018 there were first indications of the drug ring, the breakthrough in the investigation came last year with the decryption of the communication service “Sky ECC” – through which the criminal deals were apparently organized. Finally, the investigators apparently had enough evidence together and struck Tuesday in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Croatia.
On Mallorca, one of the destinations was the “Ritzi Portals” restaurant. Here Bashkim Osmani was happy to be the host and met celebrities like Til Schweiger or acting world star Nick Nolte. The police also searched Osmani’s “BO Hotel” in Palma and his luxury villa in Camp de Mar. Osmani had celebrated his marriage pompously here in 2017 and had the guests, some of whom were prominent, flown in with private jets. In the house, officials flexed the safe and, according to local newspapers, found several thousand euros in a pack of sanitary napkins.
In addition, the police seized 86 oil paintings worth five million euros, seven super sports cars, 16 luxury watches and a good 200,000 euros in cash during the major raid on Mallorca. A fortune in bitcoins was also confiscated. In Belgium, on the other hand, 1.3 million euros, ten kilograms of cocaine and twelve live firearms were discovered.
The rise of the Osmani family began in Hamburg. In the mid-1990s, Quazim Osmani, born in 1959, known as “Felix” – the lucky one, ran a gaming room here at the Nobistor not far from the Reeperbahn. In a Mopo interview, he explained that he had made a considerable fortune himself through gambling and had always “worked hard”.
When the Mopo questioned this information, “Felix” Osmani said: “The author Thomas Hirschbiegel tries to spice up his empty articles by trying to drag my family and me into the mud.” Later, the Osmanis in Hamburg employed expensive lawyers, to prevent critical reporting.
The head of the family finally caught up with his three brothers. Bashkim Osmani quickly concentrated on running venues such as the “Pupasch” at the Landungsbrücken or the “Opera” at the State Opera. Burim Osmani, in turn, developed into a real estate expert. To this day, he owns various properties in St. Pauli and other parts of the city. He has nothing to do with his brother Bashkim’s alleged criminal activities.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the family fortune was estimated at almost 300 million euros and the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) began to take an interest in the Ottomanis. The accusation of organized crime at a very high level was raised – but could never be proven in court. The Ottomans had always categorically denied all these allegations. Bashkim Osmani said: “These are all beautiful fairy tales.”
In the Balkans, the Ottomanis soon enjoyed heroic status and are still considered top celebrities there today. They showed up with world stars like world boxing champion Lennox Lewis, invested millions in Albania and Croatia, built residential buildings and luxury hotels. Investments in casinos and hotels in Prague and even in Moscow followed.
In 2006, however, the Hamburg police struck after years of investigation, and in 2008 Bashkim and Burim Osmani were before the district court. Bashkim was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison in Hamburg for aiding and abetting infidelity. It was about bad loans for real estate in the millions from the Volksbank Lauenburg.
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After his release from prison, Bashkim Osmani withdrew more and more to Mallorca and invested in real estate. He was in Hamburg just last week and met friends and business partners here. During the raid in Hamburg, a residence of the 54-year-old and the apartments of his father-in-law and brother-in-law were searched.
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The original to this post “Cocaine, money laundering, oil paintings: Now the police are chasing the neighborhood godfather “Albaner-Toni”” comes from Mopo.