Former Albanian leader Sali Berisha banned from entering UK


TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Former Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said Friday the United Kingdom has barred him from entering the country, citing his involvement in organized crime and corruption.

The British Embassy in Tirana tweeted on Thursday that “the UK has taken disruptive action against several Albanian individuals linked to crime and corruption.” The embassy did not name those targeted.

Berisha, the leader of Albania’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party, said Britain’s home secretary briefed him in a letter he said was confidential. He said he himself decided to go public with his travel ban.

The fight against corruption and organized crime has been the Achilles’ heel of post-communist Albania, which has strongly affected the country’s democratic, economic and social development.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also barred Berisha from entering the United States more than a year ago for alleged acts of corruption while he was prime minister.

Berisha denied the allegations and alleged that current Albanian socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama and US billionaire George Soros “sponsored” the decision.

Berisha served as Albania’s first post-communist president from 1992 to 1997, when a pyramid scheme in which many Albanians lost their life savings brought the country to the brink of anarchy.

His Democratic Party won the 2005 elections and Berisha became Prime Minister for two terms which ended in 2013. Since then he has served as a legislator in the Albanian Parliament.


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