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Probe Sought into Albanian Ex-PM’s Cronies

Socialist MP Erjon Brace has asked the tax authorities to launch a probe on the heels of a BIRN investigation – which revealed how the inner circle around former Prime Minister Sali Berisha earned millions of euro from suspect land deals.

Besar Likmeta BIRN Tirana

Albania MP Erjon Brace

“The tax and money laundering authorities should verify the transaction of these oligarchs,” Brace wrote on his Facebook page.

“The new evidence is challenging and totally proves the allegations,” he said, referring to BIRN’s newly published investigation.

Brace said he had asked the Deputy Finance Minister, who was present on Wednesday in the parliamentary commission on the economy, to get “to the bottom of this”.

The investigation in question, published by BIRN on Monday, concerned former Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s decision to include an almost worthless piece of marshland in an energy park.

The change in designation of the land helped his family and his friend Damir Fazlic earn millions of euros.

Evidence uncovered by BIRN also suggests that Berisha’s daughter, Argita Malltezi, and her lawyer colleague, Flutura Kola, may have earned more than a million euro from the sale of worthless agricultural land in the Porto Romano area to Fazlic.

Malltezi also does not appear to have declared these earnings, as part of her official disclosures, as the daughter of the ex-Prime Minister.

The operation was bankrolled by Serbian businessman Vojin Lazrevic, who funneled €2.5 million to Fazlic to buy land in Albania through a number of offshore firms.

Brace has described Fazlic and Lazarevic as “Berisha’s oligarchs”.

– See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/albania-mp-calls-for-probe-on-ex-pms-oligarchs#sthash.aWmr0uSB.dpuf

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Albania Faces Bumpy Road to EU Accession

1 July 2014

As Tirana struggles to satisfy membership criteria, internal dynamics in EU member states add a new burden to hopes for a smooth and speedy accession.

Gjergj Erebara BIRN Brussels

Eduard Kukan | Photo by : European Parliament

Albania secured the status of EU candidate country last Friday, after the recommendations from the European Commission and the Council of Ministers were approved during the summit of EU heads of state in Brussels.

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