Without making any comment Adriatik Llalla, the former General Prosecutor of Albania, has appeared before the Special Court Against Organised Crime and Corruption (SPAK) accepting the verdict. According to the ruling of the judges on Thursday, Lalla, 52, was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison and his assets were confiscated. He was found guilty of not declaring his wealth and other irregularities on asset declarations. He becomes one of the highest officials in Albania to be found guilty of such charges.
Llalla was elected General Prosecutor in 2012 and held this position until 2017 when his five-year mandate expired. On February 2017, as Albania was working on its flagship Justice Reform, the then US Ambassador in Tirana, Donald Lu, branded him as an “enemy of the reform”.
The then top prosecutor retorted by claiming the ambassador was exerting “typical Sorosian pressure” on him, referring to the US millionaire philanthropist George Soros who is often a target of conspiracy theories.
The US State Department declared him “persona non grata” in 2018, the first known Albanian official to be banned from entering the US for suspected involvement in “significant corruption”.
Prosecutors started investigating him in March 2018 and issued a seizure order for an apartment in the port city of Durres and 22,000 square metres of land near Tirana.
Llalla is among the four senior officials who have been declared persona non-grata with the latest one Sali Berisha, a former premier and the first president elected after the fall of communism as a pick up of Washington and those years were like a ‘honeymoon’ between Berisha and the US and the first Ambassador of the strategic ally in Albania, William Rierson, who is still remembered participating in electoral activities of DP together with Berisha in the frame of the local elections of 1994. That was lambasted by the Socialist Party at that time when it was in opposition.
The chairman of the Socialist Party parliamentary group, Taulant Balla declared in Parliament on Thursday that after the punishment of Berisha by the State Department it is the time of the judiciary in Albania to ‘do its job’.
Anyway, it remains to be seen what will happen with Berisha as two other ‘unwanted’ officials by the State Department who are close to Premier Edi Rama, namely Tom Doshi and Vangjel Dako, have not been persecuted, rather they continue their political career untroubled.
But differently from all the three ‘unwanted’ Berisha has spoken out against State Secretary Blinken declaring he would press charges against him for false accusations against him. /argumentum.al