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Former Albanian prime minister says he is charged with corruption and cash laundering in land deal

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TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s former prime minister Sali Berisha mentioned Saturday that prosecutors charged him with corruption and cash laundering in reference to a land deal involving a Tirana property.

Berisha, 79, mentioned the prosecutor’s workplace accountable for {cases} in opposition to senior officers or main {cases}, ordered him to not go away the nation.

Berisha additionally mentioned his son-in-law, 50-year-old Jamarber Malltezi, was arrested on the identical fees on the Tirana Worldwide airport. Berisha mentioned each he and Malltezi are harmless.

“On these fees I declare that they’re completely with none foundation and purely and totally political accusations from (present prime minister) Edi Rama,” he mentioned at a information convention late Saturday.

Rama didn’t instantly reply to Berisha’s declare.

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The Particular Prosecution Towards Corruption and Organized Crime workplace alleges that Berisha’s son-in-law exploited Berisha’s place as prime minister to denationalise land in Tirana owned by the nation’s Protection Ministry and return it to its earlier house owners, who instantly offered it at a low value to Malltezi, who constructed flats on the land.

The fees come three years after Inside Minister Taulant Balla, then head of the governing Socialist Celebration’s parliamentary grouping, despatched a file with allegations in opposition to Malltezi and Berisha to the prosecutor’s workplace.

Berisha served as Albania’s prime minister from 2005-2013 and as president from 1992-1997. He was reelected as a lawmaker for the Democratic Celebration in an April 2021 parliamentary election.

In Might 2021 the U.S. authorities barred Berisha and his shut household from getting into the nation due to alleged involvement in corruption. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned that in Berisha’s 2005-2013 tenure as prime minister, the politician was concerned in corrupt acts and had used “his energy for his personal profit and to counterpoint his political allies and his members of the family.”

Blinken additionally accused Berisha of interfering in “unbiased investigations, anticorruption efforts, and accountability measures.” He mentioned Berisha’s “corrupt acts undermined democracy in Albania.”

Since then, Berisha’s predominant opposition Democratic Celebration is in turmoil with completely different factions preventing for the social gathering’s management and authorized registration.

Combating corruption has been post-communist Albania’s Achilles’ heel, strongly affecting the nation’s democratic, financial and social improvement. Berisha was the fourth prime Albanian official to be barred from getting into the USA due to alleged involvement in corruption.


Observe Llazar Semini at https://twitter.com/lsemini

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