European Court fines Albania €110 mln for PM’s comments

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 17, 2019 10:36

European Court fines Albania €110 mln for PM’s comments

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  • The bill equals the economic aid of three years that the government provides for all the poor in Albania. or as much as 1 percent of Albania's national production.

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TIRANA, May 16 – The European Court of Human Rights fined Albania € 110 millions for the public statements of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama against Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti back in 2015.

A number of local media sources reported the decision was taken a few days ago, while Syri.net has confirmed it from two independent sources, including the State Advocacy Office.

The bill, which constitutes a fatal blow to state finances, is the largest fine that Albania has ever received from an international court. This bill will be paid by Albanian citizens due to Prime Minister Edi Rama’s statements in the media and social networks back in June 2015.

During that time, a few days after the Albanian prosecution seized the properties of the Italian businessman, namely Agon Channel, the prime minister publicly accused Beçhet of money laundering.

In his Twitter statement, Rama, responding to the opposition’s allegations, linked the seizure of the assets of Agon Channel TV with politics’ decriminalization from criminal elements.  ‘Decriminalization, the fig leaf that drops and exposes the Democratic Party when crime is targeted. Blocking the source of dirty money that fed Agon Channel, a success,” Rama wrote in his personal twitter in 2015.

Following these statements, Francesco Becchetti sued Albania at the Arbitration Tribunal in Strasbourg, claiming that Rama’s public statements violated his presumption of innocence.

The suit claimed by Becchetti was filed at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on October 21, 2015 and communicated to the Albanian government on January 12. At the same time, the Italian businessman also filed another lawsuit against Albania for unjust seizure, according to him, of Agon Channel television.

After a lengthy session, the court granted Becchetti the right, finding Rama and the Albanian government guilty, and condemning Albania with the bill of 110 million euros.

The bill equals the economic aid of three years that the government provides for all the poor in Albania. or as much as 1 percent of Albania’s national production.

The well-known economist Pano Soko reacted on facebook concerning the news about the fine.

“If the Arbitration Court actually penalized Albania on the issue of shutting down the Agon Channel, as various sources of newspapers claim, then this is a legal condition that the Prime Minister should not only resign, not only a criminal proceeding should be opened for abuse of office at cost of the state budget, but his entire property should be sequestrated until the sum’s full liquidation.”

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 17, 2019 10:36