Mafia Report in Albania
Date: Sunday, June 10 @ 17:27:36 PDT
Topic: Albania News
Read inside: "Mafia Clan of Democratic Party of Albania" , "My letter to Tom Ridge" , "Fatmir "Watchman" Mediu and President Bush" - by Gary Q. Kokalari
H.E. Sokol Olldashi
Minister of Telecommunications and Transportation
Republic of Albania
Not surprisingly, as of this date I have not received a response from you on the correspondence below and the attached report that contains various allegations against you. If this information is not true, one would think you would have an interest in clearing your name.
Gary Q. Kokalari - Political Analyst
By Gary Q. Kokalari - Exclusively for ACLIS
With respect to another matter, now that your are responsible for telecom, do you plan to take any action to bring the transparency to the interconnection agreement and Albtelecom privatization issues that were intentionally avoided by your predecessor, Lulzim Basha, and Sali Berisha? Perhaps you will have the opportunity to ask President Bush his opinion on this matter.
Gary Q. Kokalari
H. E. Sokol Olldashi
Minister of the Interior
Republic of Albania
It is my understanding that Sali Berisha and you were offended by my letter to you that alleges your affiliation with Albanian criminals. This is completely understandable. But please know that as an Albanian, I am offended by the persistent stories of crime and corruption emanating from Albania . And I am offended by politicians like Sali Berisha, a communist dictator masquerading as a democrat, who says one thing but does another. And I am also offended by politicians like Fatmir Mediu, Lulzim Basha and Fatos Nano and their unexplainable, unjustified sources of wealth.
However, as I am certain most Albanians will agree, the allegations about you contained in the report are extremely disturbing because those who support or protect criminals should be considered criminals themselves. And although I cannot state with certainty that the report is accurate, I still find the allegations troubling as I have reason to believe it is possible there is validity to the claims.
But I have a suggestion that may help clear up this matter. The report alleges that you maintain relationships with a number of criminals in Albania . I suggest that you immediately make available for inspection ALL of your communication records for the past year, including ALL telephone and text records, so that they may be analyzed by an independent third party (with my input) prior to the elections to determine if you have associated with those individuals who are alleged in the report to be involved in criminal activity. And if this analysis indicates that you have no such criminal affiliations, then this will be at least a first step toward clearing up this matter in my mind, but more importantly, in the minds of the citizens of Tirana who you are asking to support you on election day.
Gary Q. Kokalari
The Hon. Sokol Olldashi
Minister of Interior
Republic of Albania
It is my understanding that you were recently interviewed on the Albanian TV show "Free Zone" where you stated you would vote for Fatos Nano if he were to be nominated to serve as Albania's President, and there was a report that Prime Minister Berisha made a similar comment several days before your TV appearance. There was also a report you had a secret meeting with Nano in Durres where this matter was discussed. If I have misinterpreted your words or actions I am requesting you provide clarification.
If there is any truth to your statements and actions (related news reports appear below), your comments would be very surprising due to the fact that it is unlikely you would make such a statement without the knowledge of Sali Berisha since it is well known his ministers are too intimidated to take any action without his approval. It should also be noted that your statements would represent a major contradiction on the part of the Democratic Party due to the fact you so aggressively attacked Fatos Nano as being corrupt prior to the election, the key reason why your party was able to prevail in the elections.
That being said, I want to make sure you are aware of the attached report (Albanian and English versions) containing numerous allegations Fatos Nano and other members of his government were engaged in drug trafficking and other criminal activity. This report was assembled in 2004 by one of Berisha's closest confidants, and after a meeting I had with Berisha, it was emailed to me by this person (which I can verify with email files) with Berisha's approval. It could be interpreted that your comment about supporting Nano for President is an indication that a deal was struck between Berisha and Nano to pave the way for Nano to become President, and this would go a long way to explaining why your government has taken no action to pursue Nano for the numerous allegations you leveled against him prior to the election. The only way to prove there is no basis to this claim is for you to immediately request that your government open an investigation of the allegations contained in the attached report.
I would like to remind you that Fatmir Mediu, with the full cooperation and approval of Sali Berisha, used the office of Congressman Frank Wolf to arrange to appear before the Helsinki Commission, and in his May 2004 testimony before this U.S. Congressional Committee in Washington Mediu stated,
"Albania is facing a difficult situation, as a result of an inept government unable to serve its citizens, and at the same time overly capable in serving the illegal interests of a group of high-powered people. In great measure this is a result of the influence of organized crime and corruption on the Nano government, which is undermining the foundation of the country's and our people's futures."
If Berisha and you now consider the support of Nano for President a viable option, given comments like Mediu made above and the numerous attacks Berisha made against Nano prior to the election, it could be construed that Berisha and Mediu committed an outright abuse of a U.S. Congressional committee for the sole purpose of gaining power in Albania. I am certain the people of the United States and members of Congress would frown upon an abuse of power of this nature. I am also certain the people of Albania would feel they have been betrayed by Berisha. Do you believe such an abuse of either a U.S. government body or the people of Albania is appropriate?
Gary Q. Kokalari
bcc: Marci Ries, Rosemary DiCarlo, Tom Ridge, Frank Wolf, CIA, FBI, Helsinki Commission
Olldashi was asked by Arian Cani on the TV show "Free Zone" (Zone e Lire at TV Klan) "whether he would vote Fatos Nano if the Socialist Party would present him as candidate for president in 07". Olldashi said that "he would vote him". The article below also mentions that a few days prior to this statement, Berisha didn't rule out the possibility of voting Nano as a president.
Mafia Clan of Democratic Party of Albania
Prime Minister Sali Berisha
- kukRexhep ARAPI, resident in Katund Sukth, nicknamed “KEPI” has a criminal record as follows:
- In the year 1991 (in March) he has killed at the Port of Durrës, for feud issues the citizen A. Cyrbja, resident in the Katund Sukth village; has been arrested for this crime in 1994 and has been released because of lack of evidence.
- In April 1997, in collaboration with Gëzim Aleksin, resident in K.Rruget Shijak (arrested for armed robbery, convicted for 12 years in prison, is being tried as a member of the ‘Kanun’ band) have kidnapped for the purpose of profit the business partner of Lul Alimadhi (The Shoe Firm in Qendër Sukth) and has released him after taking the fee of 150 million Italian liras.
- In April 1997, together with Zaimir Cyrbe from Katundi Sukth, has killed the nephew of Cim Xhije (partner of Lul Alimadhi), who was in the same time Luli’s bodyguard, murder happened in Qender Sukth, uncovered.
- From 1998 to 2001 has been one of the main organizers of women’s traffic for the purpose of prostitution coming from the former Soviet Union countries; in 1999 has been investigated by the Fier General Attorney’s office, and during the search of his warehouses along the highway in Fermë Sukth, two Moldavian girls were being sheltered. The Fier General Attorney Office closed the case.
- In 2003, together with his criminal band, they have tried to murder the citizen Xhevdet Plaku resident in Neighbourhood no.15 in Durrës in his neighborhood, because the latter had murdered the other brother of Kepi in Italy, in Torino on drug issues. The weapons of the crime have been found and the General Attorney in Durrës is following the case.
- He is one of the main women, guns and drugs traffickers that go through Albania to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. He has currently destroyed his warehouses along the highway in Fermë Sukth and is constructing a gigantic object of many stores with profits made from the abovementioned trafficking activities.
- There is information at this moment that his picture is published as internationally wanted by the Spanish Interpol or Portugal for international drugs trafficking. He is one of the closest friend of the I.M S. Olldashi, whom he meets almost twice a week, where they dine together or with other members of the group. They keep in contact mostly through Olldashi’s driver, Lali, his most trusted man. This citizen is dangerous and harmful, registered in the police archives as having strong criminal tendencies such as murder, drugs and prostitution trafficking.
- The ‘XHAKJA’ clan, residing in Katund Sukth have a criminal record as follows:
- In 1994, the citizen Ilir Xhakja has shot his gun inside the bar of Qerim Maloku in the Sukthi village, has been arrested but then released. The bullet shells found in the scene are the same with those found in the murder scene of citizens Gentjan Gjoka and Petrit Lyti, in 1998 in the village Hamallaj, surprisingly uncovered.
- In 1998 the Xhakja band (Ilir, Agim etc) have murdered in the village of Hamallja the citizen Gentjan Gjoka (newphew of Dash Gjoka) and Petrit Lyti, friend of Genti both from Hamallja, uncovered event.
- In the year 1998, Ilir Xhakja with others has killed the citizen Qerim Maloku in Katund Sukth, an event that was resolved in the year 2003 when an arsenal of weapons of the Xhakja band was found. He is currently being investigated for this murder. Mr. Olldashi is personally taking care for this case to be closed as a reward for the help that the Xhakja clan provided during the 2005 elections. This event is currently being tried by the Court of Grave Crimes in Tirana, where witnesses included former police officers Urim Koka (SPZ at the time, currently arrested in Italy and sentenced to 15 years in prison for prostitution traffic) and Maksut Zhiti (SPK at the time), both friends of the Xhakajs, the latter has been appointed as the Director of the State Reserves in Durrës by Olldashi in return for this favor.
- In 1998 Ilir Xhakja has murdered in front of many people the citizen E. Shega from Peqin, during the funeral of his cousin (son of his uncle) Agim Xhaka, Arben’s brother because E. Shega had murdered Agim in Krrabë, Tirana four years ago because of issues about women prostitutes to Italy. This case is also uncovered despite being carried out in public. Both the former police officers U. Koka and M. Zhiti were present at the murder.
- In July 1999, the entire Xhakja Clan (Azem, Ilir, Bardhi-deputy chairman of the Katund i Ri commune, Genti and other collaborators) have hit all the residents of the Maloku clan with an arsenal of weapons, even a tank, thus destroying all the houses. They were arrested by the special forces and their weapons arsenal was confiscated, including armored vehicles and also two Moldavian females. After six months in prison the Durrës General Attorney Office released them. This event became quite popular and as a result the attorney Shkëlqim Xhemollari of the General Attorney Office in Durrës was expelled.
- In March 2003, Ilir Xhakja and others have murdered the citizen Rudin Shahini from Katundi Sukth in Sallmone for revenge after he came out of prison because the latter had killed his uncle Hamdi (Arben’s father). During this event, an arsenal of various kinds of weapons was confiscated and the experts concluded that one of the weapons was used for the murder of Qerim Maloku in 1998. This case is also uncovered.
- All the members have and are engaged in women, drugs and guns trafficking in Albania as well as in Italy. The majority of the Xhakja clan have strong criminal tendencies for murder, and drugs and prostitution traffic.
- In March 2006 there was an attempted attack against Fatbardh and Arben Xhakaj in the Sallmone village in the Xhafzotaj commune where Arben was wounded. According to police information they have been shot because of the drugs market in Durrës. They have currently rented a disco named “Fosfor Club” which is next to the Police Directory of the Durrës circuit where all the drug dealers of Durrës are supplied. This disco is the main and current center for mixing and dealing drugs in the city of Durrës since the local police dares not enter the site because this clan and the people there are known as the closest supporters and friends of I.M S.Olldashi. The vehicles that this clan uses to move around are the latest ones, like a gray Mercedes Cabriolet carrying an Italian license plate, a blue Mercedes with license plate DR 5255 D, a Mitsubishi Pajero carrying a DR plate etc; all these vehicles do not possess any documentation and have been stolen in Italy
- Dashamir GJOKA and his clan, residing in the Sallmone village have a criminal record as follows:
- In the year 1996, D. Gjoka has murdered a citizen from Shkodra with last name Zefi in Italy, by beheading him because of women trafficking. He has immediately left Italy and returned to Albania and since then has never visited Italy again; has been dealing instead with the construction of the supermarket in Sallmone. The Shkodrans have come to Shijak several times in order to kill him.
- In 1998, in cooperation with the citizen Arben hakik Tollja, resident in Fermë Xhafzotaj (he is nicknamed Zjarrmi, currently arrested for many rapes of female students in Tirana) have killed the daughter of the brother of the citizen Zyrafet Murati (from Kukës) and the citizen Silvana Murati from Shijak, has been seriously injured (she is currently working as a cleaning personnel and prostitute for the VIP guests at the Gjoka Supermarket), has been arrested in 1998 but then released after 11 months of imprisonment for lack of proof.
- In 1999, D. Gjoka, in cooperation with his clan has shot in the village Sallmone a vehicle, property of Ilir Xhaka, and as a result the citizen Veli Rexha was killed and his brother seriously injured. Both of them are residents of Katundi I ri and brothers of Qamil Rexha. This is still uncovered despite the abundance of proof.
- His newphews Beonard and Mandrin Hyqmet Gjoka are the main drug dealers in the city of Shijak, Ferme Sukth, Durres and Tirana and have also several girls working for them in Italy. In the same time, they are engaged with drugs transportation from Albania to Italy. Mandrini has been arrested in 2003 as the main suspect for the armed robbery in the Xhafzotaj village that resulted in the death of the citizen Jaho Smoqi. He has stayed in prison for about one month and now the Court of Grave Crimes is investigating him while free. Fatbardh Xhakaj was arrested for this case as well, has stayed in prison for two weeks because Fatos Balla, the guilty person for the crime, currently under custody, mentioned his name. Beonard is sentenced in Italy, in the city of San Benedeto for drug trafficking and women trafficking, currently, with profits from drugs sale, he is constructing a three store villa in the Sallmone village. He was a member of the commission at the Voting Center no. 1406 in Sallmone for Mr. Olldashi. Both brothers currently move around carrying guns in their cars, which are in turn stolen and of the latest years, they distribute drugs in Durres and Shijak and transport drugs to Italy through other soldiers. Mandrini often goes to Italy to collect the money, since Mr. Olldashi has provided him with a German Schengen Visa. Also, they are highlighted by the State Police as a dangerous criminal contingent with strong criminal tendencies like Murdedr, Drugs and Prostitution Trafficking.
- D. Gjoka has been and is one of the biggest traffickers of women with intent of prostitution to Italy. The chief of the girls in Italy has been a girl from Vlora, named Linda, who is currently Dashi’s wife and they have two children. Her brother Miri works at the Supermarket as chief accountant. D. Gjoka is on record in the State Police for International Drugs Trafficking and Women with intent for prostitution, Murder etc.
- The Gjoka Supermarket is the main center for the trafficking of drugs that comes from Turkey and Macedonia and the supply base for many criminal groups in Durres and Tirana and also the location where the cars that will be traveling to Italy and carrying drugs are supplied. Dashi currently owns an armored vehicle which has the licence plate: DR 51 90 C. It must be noted that Dash Gjoka is the main source of supply for all the drugs suppliers in Albania because it is a well known fact that a close friend and financial supporter of I.M, S. Olldashi. The latter meets with Gjoka almost every week. Oftentimes, the Democratic Party MPs Bamir Topi, Ridvan Bode, S. Olldashi etc come to dine or to supply in this supermarket, since they are close friends with Dashi.
- The main and most loyal soldier of his is his driver, the citizen Artan Rami Bode, resident in Xhafzotaj, the newphew of the MP Ridvan Bode. He is also engaged in settling jobs for Dashi as far as the drug and women traffic goes, being a key figure. Artan, together with his Dashi’s older brother, Nazmi (called Nexhi) make the rules by smuggling merchandise from the Durres Port, both have been members of the Voting Center commission no.1402 for Mr. Olldashi.
- Other friendly relationships of Gjoka are Hekuran Hoxha (Roni) and Fundim Dedja, both sentenced in Italy and other countries, for drug trafficking aimed at the Italian territory. Currently Gjoka is the head of the area Xhafzotaj Commune-Shikaj and even more, where all drug traffickers are supplied only by him. Strong evidence suggests that he has an arsenal of sophisticated weapons in his residence and a high security vault containing millions of Euros in Cash. It must be noted that Gjoka’s drugs goes through the port of Durres and Vlora and almost each cargo that is stopped in Italy is Gjoka’s and all the arrested men are his as well.
- The Brothers Gezim and Besnik Sijoni, residents in the village of Xhafzotaj have a criminal record as follows:
- In the year 1994 G. Sijoni has attempted to murder the citizen Pellumb Hoxhaj, but he only accomplished wounding him in the leg. He is not convicted and even today this issue is never brought up in the Pellumbi family and relatives.
- In the year 1997, G. Sijoni, together with his brother Besnik have attempted to murder their former son in law (Arben Vora’s younger brother since he had left their sister after getting engaged with her) in the middle of the city of Shijak. The case was opened, the two men have been identified and declared as wanted by the police but they were never convicted. The Durresi General Attorney closed the case.
- In the year 1997, the two Sijoni brothers have taken through guns and force “Filanton” and have earned big amounts of money for guarding it; they still guard it today. For this purpose, Gezim has requested permission for a private police through his friend S. Olldashi.
- Both the Sijoni brothers are engaged in dugs trafficking to Italy and have also three girls that work as prostitutes for them in Italy (one of them from Burrel). They are also the main drugs suppliers for Tirana where they have many close relations. Both brothers have been convicted in Italy for drugs trafficking but Italy’s orders are not followed because they are Olldashi’s closest friends and the main supporters for his campaign. They are also highlighted by the State Police as a contingent with strong criminal tendencies like Murder, Drugs and Prostitution Trafficking.
- Currently, together with the Tusha brothers, they are laundering money through construction projects in the area of Shkembi I Kavajes and in Durres.
- Tusha Brothers, resident in the village of Xhafzotaj have a criminal record as follows:
- Their bar “Diagonal” at the K.Rruget is the base for the sheltering of many criminals from different cities in Albania and also a base for the processing of drugs.
- In the year 2001, in the residence of Naim Shera, the brother in law of the Tusha brothers, 20 kg of drugs (which was property of the Tusha brothers), at the time Naim was the driver of Klement Zguri, head of the Central Elections Committee. Because of this issue, Naim Shera has been wanted and then sentenced with 5 years of imprisonment. He surrendered at the police two days before the elections with a promise from Olldashi that after his victory, he will get him out and close all issues, a promise that Olldashi has kept.
- Both brothers are the main drugs traffickers from Shijak to Italy where together with the Sijoni Brothers, are the closest link of MP Fatmir Mediu. Also, the Tusha brothers, through the latter have a permission to carry weapons as members of the National Guard. They are the main drugs suppliers in Tirana and are currently moving around with 05-06 vehicles, Mercedes, stolen in Italy, carrying foreign licensee plates, German, one of which is 4444.
- Currently they are laundering the money from the drugs by constructing in the beach of Durres. They have been highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies for drugs and prostitution trafficking. They are the closest friends of Olldashi, and there is information confirming that they have bought the latter a house in Tirana that cost 100.000 Euros. Furthermore, the Durresi Police guards the bars at the beach in Durres, where Olldashi and the Tusha brothers dine and stay up till the first morning hours, in a drunken state.
- One of the main bases for hiding drugs that the Tusha brothers use is the residence of the citizen Altin Bajram Hajri in Pjeza (a friend of theirs). Altin’s brother is currently under arrest in Italy because of the Tusha drugs.
- Other individuals and their criminal records:
- Sazan Shyqyri Bukmishi and his brothers Fred and Eduard, residing in Katund Sukth, nephews of the Jashars, owners of NTV, are currently under arrest by the Interpol in Rome as members of the Kanun criminal band. It must be noted that one night before their arrest they were dining together with Mr. Olldashi in a bar on the bank of the Erzen river in Katund Sukth. They have been the main supporters and the charis of the Voting Centers for Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections in Katund Sukth and more specifically in the VC no. 1514 Fred and in the VC no.1522 Eduard. They are highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Azem Vezi, resident of Katund Sukth, arrested several times for various criminal acts like carrying guns without permission, burglary, armed robbery and also for women exploitation with intent of prostitution. He has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections in the Sallmone village. It is highlighted on State Police records as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Luan Bodlli, residing in K.Rruget, is one of the women and drugs traffickers in Italy, carrying guns without permit and is the driver of the Head of the Xhafzotaj Commune, Agim Hoxha (Agim Hoxha is the uncle of Dash Gjoka) and also one of the main drug distributors in Durres. He is one of the most loyal men of Dash Gjoka. Has been one of the main supporters of Olldashi during the July 2005 elections in the Sallmone village. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Altin Balla, residing in Rreth, arrested and sentenced for robbery in Shijak, women and drugs trafficker, owns a bar in front of the RST in Reth, where he keeps women that are exploited for prostitution. He is one of the main suspects for the event involving J. Smoqi. Has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi during the July 2005 elections in the Sallmone village. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Flamur Halit Cara, residing in Sallmone, was arrested in italy for women trafficking, he is a drug dealer in Shijak and Durres, his father, Halit is the head of the DP in Sallmone. Has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi during the July 2005 elections in the Sallmone village and also a member of the Commission at the Voting Station no. 1407. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Lavderim Bulica, residing in the Vllazerim village; we have stopped him a number of times as the main suspect of some burglaries of houses and bars in this village; he is a member of the Council of the Xhafzotaj Commune and friend of the Head of the Xhafzotaj Commune. Has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi during the July 2005 elections in the village of Vllazerim. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Sinan Trimi, residing at K. Rruget , police contingent as a placing fines upon people , arrested in 2004 for carrying guns without permit and as a suspect of the J. Smoqi event. Has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi during the July 2005 elections in the villages of Xhafzotaj and Rreth. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Dashamir Keci and his clan residing in Shijak, police contingent for theft, burglary, no permit guns, drug traffick, arrested several times and in 2004 with S. Trimi for carrying guns without permit and as a suspect for the event of J. Smoqi. Has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections in Shijak, where some of the have been members of the Voting Centers in Shijak for Mr. Olldashi. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Clirim Avni Gjuta, residing in Pjese, arrested several times for burglary and car theft, no permit guns, is engaged in drugs trafficking and is a connection for the Kecs from Shijak. Has been one of the main supporters for Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections in the Pjeza village and the Rreth village. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Ilir Domi, residing in the Reth village in the Xhafzotaj Commune, author of three murders in 1997, one was a oil station guard in Ferme Sukth and the two others were commited in the Rreth village. For some time he was wanted by the police but after he payed a sum of money in the Durres General Attorney Office, both cases were closed. Has been and is engaged with drugs and women trafficking directed in Italy from the profits of which he has built of complex of greenhouses in the Rreth village. Has been one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections in the villages of Pjeze and Rreth. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Ardian Riza Mema, residing in the Xhafzotaj village, drugs trafficker in Italy, is wanted by the Italian police, one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections. Has been vice chair of the Commision of the Voting Center no. 1395 for the DP. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Lorenc Fiqiri Gjoka, cousin of D. Gjoka, residing in the village of Xhafzotaj, drugs and prostitution trafficker in Italy is wanted by the Italian police, one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections. Was the Chair of the Commision of the Voting Center no. 1400 for the DP. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Ylli Sure Sheshi, residing in the Xhafzotaj village, drugs and prostitution trafficker in Italy, wanted by the Italian police, one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections. Was a member of the Commision of the Voting Center no. 1400 for the DP. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Alfred Pashk Tola, residing in the Xhafzotaj village, drugs and prostitution trafficker in Italy, is wanted by the Italian police and has been sentenced with 23 years of imprisonment there, one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections, has changed his name to escape justice. Was Vice Chair of the Commision of the Voting Center no. 1401 for the DP. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Adrian Flamur Deda, residing in the village of Xhafzotaj, and prostitution trafficker in Italy, is wanted by the Italian police and has been sentenced with 15 years of imprisonment there, one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections, has changed his name to escape justice. Was a member of the Commision of the Voting Center no. 1403 for the DP. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Nazmi Binak Bllaka, resident in the Fllake village, Katund i Ri Commune, arrested several times for theft. Was one of the main supporters of Mr. Olldashi during the July 2005 elections in the Fllake village and was a member of the commission of the Voting Center no. 1516 for the DP. He is highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
- Abedin Sahit Rexhaj, residing in Katund i Ri, together with his brother Qamil, they are currently under arrest for the murder of the Head of the DP in Has, Behar Kastrati. Have been main supporters of Mr. Olldashi in the July 2005 elections in the Katund i Ri village and Abedin was a member of the commission in the Voting Center no. 1526 for the DP. They are highlighted by the State Police as having strong criminal tendencies.
00. DARDAN DOMI, residing in Shijak, currently holds the position of the General Secretary in the Ministry of Interiors, (or Human Resources Director in the MI), former head of the DP of Shijak, head of Team for Mr. Olldashi during the elections in july 2005. The coordinator and brain of all the abovementioned criminal links for Mr. Olldashi and his most loyal men.
My letter to Tom Ridge
H.E. Lulzim Basha
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Albania
Below is my May 30 letter to Tom Ridge. As of this date, I have not received a response from Mr. Ridge. Perhaps you can shed some light on these questions? It would be greatly appreciated if you could be so kind as to provide your input.
With respect to another issue, as you know, Greek soldiers were caught on video chanting, "we will use the intestines of Albanians to make our shoelaces." Just in case you haven't seen it, here's the video
. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, why haven't you demanded that the Greek government discipline the soldiers who made those racist, anti-Albanian statements? For some advice, I suggest you ask President Bush
what he thinks about this outrage.
Gary Q. Kokalari
May 30, 2007
The Hon. Thomas Ridge
Thomas Ridge LLC
Dear Governor Ridge:
In light of Lulzim Basha's recent visit to Washington and President Bush's impending historic visit to Albania, I have a number of questions about your relationship with Albania and I am requesting that you respond to the following:
1. In the interest of transparency, as I have previously requested, what is the nature of the services you are providing to Albania, how much are you being paid and who is paying this fee to you?
2. What was the purpose of accompanying Lulzim Basha on his visit to Capital Hill?
3. Bechtel was recently granted a contract for a major road construction project in Albania. This appears to be another Albanian tender process where there were was a minimal attempt at transparency. Did you in any way function as an intermediary in this deal? Have you acted as an intermediary with regard to any other company's efforts to secure business in Albania? If so, did you receive any form of remuneration for your efforts? Does this present a conflict of interest?
4. Below is my May 6, 2007 letter to Congressman Engel regarding Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha's recent visit to Washington, and you were copied on the letter. Many of these subjects have been brought to your attention before including questions about the source of Basha's wealth. Have you asked Basha about the source of his wealth? Have you inquired about his family's ties to the Vefa pyramid scheme? How is it possible for Basha, a young man with little professional experience, to have accumulated $1 million in assets (that’s just what he’s declared, there may be more)? Can he provide pay stubs, tax returns and records of stock transactions to support his claims? I know this would not seem an unreasonable accomplishment in the U.S., but this is Albania and knowing the situation there quite well, I can tell you that in the best case it's highly suspicious. In a related matter, as I previously informed you, Basha’s father-in-law was a key figure at Vefa, one of the largest of Albania ’s notorious pyramid schemes that were responsible for fleecing the large majority of Albanians and subsequently plunged the country into chaos in 1997. Despite the fact that Berisha was repeatedly warned about the danger associated with these schemes, he maintained a close relationship with Vefa and ignored all warnings. Did you ask Basha if he is aware if his father-in-law was able to abscond with illegal gains from Vefa and did Basha in any way profit from these assets?
5. In light of the recent events related to Fort Dix and the fact that three of the alleged "terrorists," the Dukas, were Albanian illegal immigrants, and given your former position as Director of Homeland Security, did you do anything about the information I provided to you about illegal trafficking in Albania?
6. I have made a number of concrete suggestions to Sali Berisha about attacking crime and corruption in Albania and you have been made aware of this information. Supposedly, you have been retained to provide counsel on these issues. Other than suggesting a national identity card plan, what have you done in this regard?
7. I forwarded a report to you that was provided to me via email by one of Sali Berisha's closest advisors that alleges various acts of corruption and criminal enterprise against Former Prime Minister Fatos Nano and members of his government. This report contains very specific charges and was given to me with Berisha's full knowledge and approval. It was also made a key election issue when I made this information a matter of public record in Albania 2005. What have you done about this?
8. Regarding Telecom & Transport Minister Sokol Olldashi (former Interior Minister), you were also provided with a similar report that discusses various allegations about Olldsashi's relationships with Albanian criminals. Have you discussed this matter with Berisha?
9. You were provided information about Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu's unexplained wealth and allegations that he was arrested in Italy with a reputed Albanian gangster alleged to be engaged in human and drug trafficking. Have you inquired about the source of Mediu's wealth or the allegations that he maintained a relationship with a reputed Albanian gangster?
10. I have informed you about possible security breaches at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana? What have you done about this matter?
11. Based on his actions, it is now clear Sali Berisha blatantly lied to the people of Albania about his intentions related to fighting crime and corruption and governing with transparency. Have you discussed this matter with him? If so, does he intend to do anything to rectify this matter?
12. Despite various DP campaign promises to rectify various problems in the telecom sector (your office has been kept fully abreast of these issues), Berisha and Basha have made a complete about face on their promises. It is known that Basha has forged a close relationship with executives of Greek owned AMC. Are you aware if Basha has received any form of remuneration from AMC in exchange for his cooperation on matters that are beneficial to the economic interests of AMC but detrimental to the people of Albania?
13. Recently, there was a large demonstration in Tirana to protest Sali Berisha’s heavy handed attempts to censor media. Did you advise Berisha that such attempts to stifle free speech are direct affronts to democracy?
Your input on these matters would be greatly appreciated.
Gary Q. Kokalari
May 6, 2007
The Hon. Eliot Engel
House of Representatives
Washington , DC
Dear Congressman Engel:
You are known as the most vocal member of Congress on Albanian issues and you also serve as Chairman of the Albanian Issues Caucus. It is my understanding that Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha will visit with you this week in Washington .
There are several issues I would like to suggest that you address with Mr. Basha when you meet as follows:
- How is it possible for Basha, a young man with little professional experience, to have accumulated $1 million in assets (that’s just what he’s declared, there may be more)? Can he provide pay stubs, tax returns and records of stock transactions to support his claims?
- Basha’s father-in-law was a key figure at Vefa, one of the largest of Albania ’s notorious pyramid schemes. Does Basha know if his father-in-law was able to abscond with illegal gains from Vefa and did Basha in any way profit from these assets?
- Despite various DP campaign promises to rectify various problems in the telecom sector (your office has been kept fully abreast of these issues), Berisha and Basha have made a complete about face on their promises. It is known that Basha has forged a close relationship with executives of Greek owned AMC. Please ask Mr. Basha if he has received any form of remuneration from AMC in exchange for his cooperation on matters that are beneficial to the economic interests of AMC but detrimental to the people of Albania .
- Recently, there was a large demonstration in Tirana to protest Sali Berisha’s heavy handed attempts to censor media. Do you intend to tell Basha that the U.S. will not tolerate any such attempts to stifle free speech?
- Berisha campaigned on a platform to fight corruption and as a central part of his campaign, he relentlessly attacked Fatos Nano as being corrupt. In fact, his office was the source of the attached report that contains allegations of Nano’s improprieties (this report has been forwarded to you on several occasions in the past. Yet, since he has taken office, Berisha has done little to fight crime and corruption and astonishingly, he has even spoken of the possibility of supporting a Nano Presidency. Berisha’s flip-flop deserves a response from Basha.
- Greek soldiers were recently caught on video tape chanting highly racist anti-Albanian slogans. This was not an isolated incident because it is known these slogans have become “institutionalized” within the Greek military. Greece is one our fellow members of NATO, and I am certain that Americans would frown on this type of racism from a fellow NATO member. I am requesting that you determine what, if anything, the Berisha government plans to do about this. I would also like to know if it’s appropriate for your office to request an inquiry by Greece so that the soldiers and commanders responsible for these racist acts are dealt with in an appropriate manner. This would send a clear signal to Greeks that racism against Albanians or any other minority will not be tolerated by the U.S. Given the outcry in the U.S. over the Abu Ghraib incident, and the fact that Albanian solders are fighting along side Americans in Iran and Afghanistan , I hope you can appreciate why this situation is of concern to the people of Albania . I would like to know what the U.S. and/or Albania plan to do to rectify this matter. I hope you will discuss this issue with Basha.
- As you know, hundreds of thousands of Albanians in Greece are living under a Greek form of apartheid and are subjected to severe forms of societal and institutional discrimination. What is Basha planning to do to improve the human rights of these Albanians? What are you doing about this injustice?
- The Albanian Chams are still waiting for the U.S. and Albanian governments to address their plight. What is being done to help the Chams with their grievances?
- I recently brought up several issues concerning the U.S. Embassy in Tirana including the possibility that a large number employees were members of Albania ’s communist party and lied on their employment applications to hide their communist pasts. I also alerted the Embassy to other possible illegal activity within the Embassy. What does your office plan to do about this matter? What does Basha think should done?
As you know, the Albanian constituency of your district has changed over the years so that today a significant portion of them are from Albania proper. Furthermore, it is my understanding that Basha has no constituency in the U.S. , and if I am mistaken on this point, I encourage those parties to come forward. Quite frankly, as the third generation of my family to be involved in the affairs of the Albanian American community, I am embarrassed that the country of my forebears sends such a marginal individual like Lulzim Basha to represent Albania in our nation’s capital.
For the interests of Albanian Americans, I hope you will take these matters into consideration when meeting with Mr. Basha.
Gary Q. Kokalari
Fatmir "Watchman" Mediu and President Bush
H.E. Fatmir Mediu
Minister of Defense
Republic of Albania
Upon reading the transcript of the Vision Plus interview with President Bush and contemplating his words, "I've been impressed with (Albania's) leadership," for some reason I thought about you. And I remembered that you never gave me the opportunity to examine your watches. Hmmmm...I wonder why? But in retrospect, perhaps this is a good thing because I want you to look your best for President Bush's historic visit, and for this reason I think it's important for you to wear one of your expensive watches for this special occasion. Perhaps the Breguet? Or maybe the Rolex? After all, it is a solid gold Rolex President watch. In any event, to help you make a selection, here's a link to the article I wrote about your impressive watch collection.
With respect to another issue, as you know, Greek soldiers were caught on video chanting, "we will use the intestines of Albanians to make our shoelaces." Just in case you haven't seen it, here's the video . Please tell me something: why haven't you demanded that Greece's Minister of Defense discipline the soldiers who made those racist, anti-Albanian statements? Perhaps you should ask President Bush what he thinks about this outrage. And ask President Bush what he did with his own soldiers after the Abu Ghraib prison incident.
ACL - 10 June 2007