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Suspicions related to Ahmetaj, VOA: SPAK seizes two villas on the coast
In Albania, the Special Prosecutor's Office against organized crime and corruption has placed two villas on the coast under preventive seizure, following suspicions that they are related to former Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj.
For one villa, which is located in the area of Palasa, the prosecution suspects that it belongs to the ex-wife of Mr. Ahmetaj, while the other in the area of Hamallaj is owned by his cohabitant. The former deputy prime minister is under investigation for at least 4 criminal offenses.
The investigations of the Special Prosecutor's Office against Mr. Arben Ahmetaj, the longest-serving politician in Prime Minister Edi Rama's cabinet since 2013, have intensified significantly in recent weeks. About 15 days ago, the investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation (BKH) carried out inspections in the apartments of Mr. Ahmetaj's ex-wife, as well as in a villa of his roommate. The former deputy prime minister appealed to the Special Court of Appeal claiming that the decision to control the apartment in Hamallaj was taken in violation of the law, and was also carried out in violation of procedures.
This particular villa has already been placed under preventive seizure. Some published documents have raised doubts that the villa was commissioned by Klodian Zoto, in search of the incinerator issue. But Mr. Ahmetaj stated that his co-habitant bought it from another person, and that the payment was made via bank.
Zoto's name also appeared in a report made by the journalist Adriatik Doçi, according to which the entrepreneur had paid for Mr. Ahmetaj's stays in expensive hotels in several different European cities. The former deputy prime minister described these accusations as false and false. He has denied having a relationship with Zoto, while he has admitted knowing Mirel Mërtir, considered by the Special Prosecutor's Office to be the mastermind of the incinerator affair.
In addition to the villa in Hamallaj, another villa on the coast in the area of Palasa has been seized. Although it turns out to be owned by Ahmetaj's ex-wife's friend, the prosecution suspects that, in fact, the latter is the real owner.
SPAK is investigating Mr. Ahmetaj on suspicion of at least 4 criminal offenses, from non-declaration or concealment and false declaration of assets, to passive corruption of high officials, money laundering and abuse of office. The latter is related to the investigations in the case of incinerators, for which the former deputy prime minister has insisted that he is not involved in any way or circumstance. VOA