Albania – US Embassy confirms it has denied visas to hundreds of corrupt public officials

Tirana, Albania | 07 Feb 2019 (Tirana Echo) – The US Embassy in Tirana has confirmed it has denied travel visas to more than 170 public officials and their family members in Albania due to corruption links.

The Embassy confirmed the news through a statement for Top Channel in which it said the US takes corruption allegations very seriously and emphasized that it indents to employ extra checks for US visa applications by Albania’s public officials.

Since the refusal to allow entry to several judges and prosecutors in January 2017, the US Embassy has denied travel visas to more than 170 current and former public officials, as well as to their family members. The position of the US Embassy and its intention to deny entry to corrupt officials, remains unchanged.” read the statement delivered to Top Channel.

During the past two years, the US State Department has publicly banned former Albanian Prosecutor General Adriatik Llalla and current member of parliament Tom Doshi from entering the United States, publicly designating them under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act due to involvement in significant corruption.

The debate on US visas has been in the public eye recently as Albanian prime minister Edi Rama hinted the US has refused a travel visa to former prime minister Sali Berisha. The US Embassy has refused to confirm the allegations and has not given any specific names of the 170 officials banned from entry.

However, the so called ‘black list’ compiled by US authorities to combat corruption in third countries includes several known public names, predominantly in the field of justice.

Albania is currently implementing a milestone reform of its highly corrupt justice system under strong US and EU pressure to get its act together and show credible results in its fight against corruption and organized crime, if it wants to join  the European Union.

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