Albania: Millions Seized From Organized Crime

Albanian authorities seized €4 million (US$5 million) in assets from two Albanians implicated in organized crime and drug trafficking, the Albanian police announced on Monday.

Based on evidence collected during a six-month joint investigation by Albania and Italy, the Tirana District Court ordered the seizure of property from Shpetim Kadana and Vasil Bajraktari, including two luxury hotels, apartments, businesses and land titles.

Kadana was arrested in Italy in February on charges of leading an international organized crime group out of Rome that moves cocaine and heroin from the Netherlands and Belgium into Italy and Greece. Another 12 members of the gang were arrested with Kadana, four of them Albanian. In addition, Italian police seized 20 kilograms of cocaine, along with stolen weapons and ammunition. The Italian anti-Mafia Police started investigating the group in 2007. The investigation into Kadana’s money laundering operation started in 2011.

The Tirana District Court sentenced Vasil Bajraktari to seven years in prison for aggravated exploitation for the purpose of prostitution. The Court’s took into account a 2007 decision of the Torino Appellate Court in Italy, which sentenced Bajraktari to eight years for the same crime.

The Joint Investigative Unit in Tirana brings together “prosecutors, police officers, tax and customs officials in order to investigate and prosecute financial crime and corruption in the district of Tirana.”