Albanian prosecutors have charged former Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his son-in-law, Jamarber Malltezi, with corruption and money laundering related to a land deal involving a sports club. The charges were brought by the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK). Berisha is accused of “corruption of senior officials” in connection with the privatization of a state-owned sports complex for the benefit of his son-in-law. He has been ordered to report to the police and is prohibited from leaving the country.
The criminal proceedings against Berisha were initiated in 2020 when Taulant Balla, the current interior minister, accused him of complicity in the privatization of sports fields and other facilities owned by the Defense ministry in Tirana. These properties were allegedly replaced with multi-story buildings. The alleged crimes took place in 2008 when Berisha was serving as the Prime Minister.
Jamarber Malltezi, Berisha’s son-in-law, was detained on Saturday night on charges of corruption and money laundering. During a public appearance, the 79-year-old former prime minister dismissed the accusations against him and attributed them to political motives, blaming Prime Minister Edi Rama. Berisha maintained his innocence and claimed that Malltezi was only charged because of their familial relationship.
Sali Berisha, who served as Albania’s first democratically elected president from 1992 to 1997 and as prime minister from 2005 to 2013, was re-elected as a member of parliament for the Democratic Party in the April 2021 parliamentary election.