Report links former Albanian leader Sali Berisha to corruption and organized crime

20 Maj 2024, 20:19Politics TEMA

Report links former Albanian leader Sali Berisha to corruption and organized

May 20, 2024 - On May 19, 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared Sali Berisha, Albania’s former president and prime minister, a "persona non grata" due to major corruption and actions undermining democracy. A year later, on July 19, 2022, the United Kingdom imposed a similar ban without making it public.

On July 22, 2022, Berisha revealed from the Democratic Party headquarters that the UK Home Office had banned him from entering the country. He accused the British Ambassador to Albania, Alastair King-Smith, and local politicians of conspiring to blacklist him, but he did not provide evidence for these claims.

Top Channel’s Muhamed Veliu exclusively accessed a 35-page document submitted to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. This document reveals the true basis for the UK's decision and counters Berisha's accusations.

In March 2021, the British Government launched the "Crime State Nexus" project to address threats from organized crime groups in the Western Balkans. This project recommended banning Berisha from entering the UK based on substantial evidence of his involvement in significant corruption and connections with organized crime.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) contributed to the findings by presenting a "Tactical Assessment" dated July 14, 2021. This assessment highlighted the issue of "state capture," detailing how political-criminal alliances in the Western Balkans enable organized crime groups to operate with political protection.

The document also cites specific allegations linking Berisha to corruption and organized crime. These include suspicious land deals involving Berisha’s daughter, Argita Malltezi, intense political pressure on prosecutors investigating Damir Fazlic, and illegal activities involving Fation Dauti. Despite submitting 600 pages of testimony and evidence in his appeal, Berisha could not overturn the decision, as the UK Home Secretary found the evidence against him compelling.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission has yet to complete its written decision on Berisha's appeal, which it heard in March.


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