Albania: OSCE Reports about 'Government Corruption' Allegations is Authentic

Published: 15 September 2015

Florian Raunig

By Igor Spaic

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has confirmed the authenticity of an internal report that included several controversial third-party allegations of corruption by members of Parliament including the prime minister.

The report was leaked to Albanian news portal Lapsi which published some of its contents on Friday. It contains notes on a number of Albanian lawmakers, which appear to have been compiled from media coverage.

The document includes press reports that Prime Minister Edi Rama stashed € 200 million in offshore bank accounts allegedly stemming from corrupt practices, including bribes taken in exchange for construction permits when he was mayor of Tirana in 2000 and 2001.

It also contains press reports claiming that parliamentary spokesman from the ruling Socialist Party, Ilir Meta, was linked to organized crime groups and had ordered two contract killings.

It also quotes an investigation by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network which claims that former Prime Minister Sali Berisha used his position to enrich members of his family.

A day after the report was leaked, OSCE Ambassador to Albania Florian Raunig confirmed that the document came from the OSCE, but also said he regretted its publication since the contents were not proven facts, but rather a compilation of press coverage.

“This information became public even though it is not proven, but rather a result of false interpretation and political manipulation. Let me be clear - the published information does not represent OSCE policy, and will not be the basis of our views or evaluation,” he said.

Raunig apologized to all those implicated in the document for the inconvenience.

Albania's Parliament has seen a series of accusations of criminality against several of its lawmakers recently, including arrests.

But while some of the highest public officials in Albania have been investigated for various alleged crimes, none of them has been convicted.

Parliamentary spokesman Ilir Meta was tried for corruption and abuse of power in 2011 after a video  appearing to show him talking about high-level graft surfaced in the media.

He was cleared of all charges by the Supreme Court a year later.