SPAK's Major Operation Reveal if Organized Crime Influences Albanian Politics

20 Maj 2024, 22:19Op-Ed Mero Baze

The recent operation by SPAK (Special Prosecution against Corruption and Organized Crime), which targeted the top seven most dangerous crime groups in Albania, has captured public attention due to the high-profile figures involved, many of whom have been arrested or are currently wanted by the police.

However, some political factions have criticized the arrests, suggesting it is a ploy by either the government or the opposition to manipulate these crime groups for political gain. Despite the sensational media coverage, it is clear that these groups operated based on their own interests rather than political affiliations.

It's challenging to determine if a crime boss's association with the Democratic Party and a former Socialist MP indicates an alliance between the two parties or if it is driven solely by personal interests. Yet, political reactions to the SPAK operation can shed light on whether politics is influenced by the crime world.

Instead of praising SPAK, Sali Berisha and Ilir Meta have criticized the operation. They argue that the crime bosses are linked to the government and the Socialist Party, while simultaneously criticizing SPAK for arresting them.

Berisha recently accused the government of being responsible for the disappearance of gambling boss Ervis Martinaj and claimed that SPAK had helped former Socialist MP Arben Noka avoid arrest by fleeing Albania. Although it was believed that Martinaj and Noka were at odds, SPAK revealed that they were actually allied against other crime groups in Albania.

This reveals that Berisha is inconsistent in his stance on criminals. He criticizes SPAK and the police for not protecting some criminals while accusing SPAK of aiding others in evading arrest.

It is puzzling why the two main opposition leaders are upset about SPAK arresting numerous crime bosses, whom they claim are linked to the Socialist Party. They should be celebrating these arrests. Meanwhile, the Socialists have not commented on the arrests, opting instead to praise SPAK’s effectiveness.

The article initially appeared in Albanian titled: "Ka një mënyrë të kuptohet, nëse politika është peng i këtyre bandave që po arrestohen"

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