Opposition seeks PM’s investigation on paying picture with former US President

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 3, 2019 09:18

Opposition seeks PM’s investigation on paying picture with former US President

Story Highlights

  • The DP’s request comes after a US court sentenced 61-year-old William Argeros to four months in prison for unlawful contribution by a foreigner to a joint fundraising committee for President Barack Obama in 2012.

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TIRANA, Oct. 3 – Albania’s Democratic Party asked the Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday to launch an investigation into Prime Minister Edi Rama, following new data on a $80,000 payment allegedly made to sponsor a 2012 photo of Rama with then US president Barack Obama.

The DP’s request comes after a US court sentenced 61-year-old William Argeros to four months in prison for unlawful contribution by a foreigner to a joint fundraising committee for President Barack Obama in 2012. 

Argeros’ lawyer was quoted as saying during the process that his client had acted on behalf of a candidate for the PM post  in Albania who wanted a photo taken with Obama, and that the candidate was Edi Rama, the current PM of Albania. 

Earlier, a New Jersey court sentenced in 2017 US-based Albanian resident Bilal Shehu, who had purchased tickets to attend a fundraising meeting on October 8, 2012, in San Francisco.

Raising numerous doubts as to the origin of the money allegedly paid by Rama, the opposition says that “Mr. Rama has consumed at least three criminal offenses from his unlawful acts: ‘exercising unlawful influence over persons exercising public functions,’ ‘Refusal to declare, non-disclosure, concealment or false declaration of the assets, private interests of elected persons and public servants or any other person having a legal obligation to declare,’ and ‘clearing of proceedings of crime or criminal activities.’”

At the time this debate broke out in the summer of 2016, Rama’’s press office stated that he had neither participated in any of President Obama’s electoral campaigns nor made any payments to participate in such an organization. 

As for his acquaintances with Bilal Shehu, it was explained that he “is a member of the Albanian community in New York and met with the Albanian delegation in the US in 2012. But categorically there was no financial action by Edi Rama to take a photo of the meeting with President Obama.”

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 3, 2019 09:18