Albania to Probe Wiretaps Revealing Mafia Bribes of Officials

Albania's Special Prosecution Office against Corruption and Organised Crime, SPAK, on Friday launched an investigation into wiretapping carried out by the Anti-Mafia Prosecution Office in Catanzaro, in Calabria, southern Italy.

The wiretaps, made public for the first time in Albania by the local media outlet Albania RTV Ora, reveal that members of the so-called Ndragheta bribed senior officials in Albania to obtain building permits and concessions in order to launder money. The criminals were to invest their proceeds in construction and health.

In some of the wiretapped conversations, two Italian businessmen, Antonio Gallo and Antonio Speziali, talk to a lawyer, Claudio Larussa, a lawyer and representative of counsellors in Catanzaro and to others about their connections with Albanian politicians and prices of real estate.

The probe comes after the Anti-Mafia Prosecution in Italy, following a four-year investigation, arrested 50 people linked to the mafia, including seven Albanians, on January 18.

The Albanian investigation follows "on the basis of several articles published in various media regarding the investigations carried out by the Anti-Mafia Prosecution of Catanzaro in Italy, which have raised suspicions of the involvement of Albanian and foreign citizens in criminal activities in the Republic of Albania," the press statement by SPAK said.

It said the suspected criminal offences included passive corruption of persons exercising public functions and laundering the proceeds of crime.

SPAK also said that a coordination meeting had taken place in Rome on Thursday between the head of the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecution in Italy, Federico Cafiero de Raho, and the head of the Albanian Special...

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