Former Albanian PM Berisha placed under house arrest

Former Albanian prime minister and leader of the opposition Sali Berisha was placed under house arrest after he refused to appear before the judiciary police in connection with a corruption probe.

The Special Court Against Corruption and Organized Crime indicted Berisha, 79, in October, suspecting him of “passive corruption of senior official.”

The investigation is linked to alleged favoritism of his son-in-law in the privatization of a state-owned sports complex while Berisha was prime minister in 2008. Berisha now heads the opposition Democratic Party.

His lawyer, Genc Gjokutaj said the court also barred Berisha from communicating with people “other than the family that lives with him.”

He said they would appeal the court’s decision, which they say was “serious violation of law and human rights.”

Lawmakers on Thursday revoked Berisha’s legal immunity, paving the way for his possible arrest in connection with the investigation.

Berisha’s son-in-law Jamarber Malltezi was arrested in October and placed under house arrest for suspected corruption and money laundering.

Malltezi is suspected of taking advantage of Berisha’s position to acquire a sports complex in Tirana that was owned by the defense ministry, which was turned into apartments.

The former prime minister rejected the accusations, labelling them “purely political,” and accused leftist Prime Minister Edi Rama of instigating the probe.

Berisha was the first democratically elected president of Albania after the fall of communism in the 1990s. He was head of government from 2005 to 2013.

Last year he was banned from entering both the United States and Britain over his alleged involvement in organized crime and corruption, accusations he rejected.

Washington accused Berisha of “misappropriating public funds and interfering with public processes” to the financial benefit of his family and allies.

Related Articles

Back to top button