x

Politics

US Sanctions Albania Ex-Leader Sali Berisha Over Corruption

TIRANA, Albania — The United States on Wednesday sanctioned former Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, barring him from entering the country after being accused of involvement in "significant corruption."

Berisha, 76, who was also president in the 1990s, is now a lawmaker in the opposition Democratic Party. 

He "was involved in corrupt acts, such as misappropriation of public funds and interfering with public processes," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Berisha was also accused of "using his power for his own benefit and to enrich his political allies and his family members at the expense of the Albanian public's confidence in their government institutions and public officials," Blinken said.

The statement added that Berisha's "own rhetoric demonstrates he is willing to protect himself, his family members, and his political allies at the expense of independent investigations, anticorruption efforts, and accountability measures."

The U.S. also is barring entry to Berisha's wife and two children. There was no immediate reaction from Berisha or the Democratic Party.

Berisha became the first leader of the main opposition center-right Democratic Party, which was created in December 1990 after a student protest ousted the former communist regime.

Berisha was Albania's first post-communist president from 1992 until 1997 when a pyramid scheme in which many Albanians lost their life savings took the country to the brink of anarchy.

The Democratic Party won the 2005 election and Berisha became prime minister for two terms until 2013. Since then, he has been a lawmaker and was reelected in the April 25 parliamentary election.

Fighting corruption has been post-communist Albania's Achille's heel, which has strongly affected the country's democratic, economic and social development.

An essential reform of the judiciary was approved in 2016 after direct involvement from Washington and the European Union. Many judges and prosecutors have been dismissed for alleged corruption and illegally earning property and money.

"With this designation, I am reaffirming the need for accountability and transparency in Albania's democratic institutions, government processes, and the actions of Albanian public officials," Blinken said of the sanctions against Berisha.

Washington repeated its support to "political reforms key to Albania's democratic institutions," pledging that the U.S. State Department would continue to use measures like this to promote accountability for corrupt officials in the region and globally.

Albania is expecting to launch an inter-governmental conference with the EU, which the country hopes to join one day.

RELATED

ATHENS - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressing the new Cabinet at a meeting held in the Maximos Mansion on Saturday, said that he chose this first meeting after the elections to coincide with the government reshuffle "in order to send an overall message of dynamic restart because June 9 was a landmark in our up to date course but also a new start for the next three years of our term" .

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

1 of 2 Abducted Louisiana Children is Found Dead in Mississippi after Their Mother is Killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said.

JERUSALEM  — Israel's military announced on Sunday that it would pause fighting throughout daytime hours along a route in southern Gaza to free up a backlog of humanitarian aid deliveries destined for desperate Palestinians enduring a humanitarian crisis sparked by the war, now in its ninth month.

NICOSIA, Cyprus — A Cyprus health official said a second elderly person has died from heatstroke after a weeklong heatwave that baked the east Mediterranean island nation with reportedly record temperatures for the month of June.

WASHINGTON  — Donald Trump on Saturday night suggested President Joe Biden “should have to take a cognitive test," only to confuse who administered the test to him in the next sentence.

On the dawn of Monday, June 10, the day after the European Parliament elections, a different Europe appeared, with a furrowed and darkened face indicating that the cycle of prosperity and political stability has ended and another rather vicious cycle has begun, foreshadowing adventures in the political, social, and economic realm.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.