An investigation for money laundering that was reduced to forgery of paperworks

By Lulzim Basha

The Prosecution of Tirana has suspended the investigation against Lulzim Basha regarding a payment of 675 thousand dollars made from him towards a lobbying company through a Russian company.

A year ago, the prosecution had launched an investigation regarding forgery of documents for Lulzim Basha, Arben Ristani and Ilir Dervishi, the accountant of the Democratic Party.

The investigation began as the owner of the Russian lobbying company, Nick Muzin admitted in front of the US Department of Justice that Lulzim Basha had signed a contract with his company and there had been three payments in the name of the Democratic Party’s leader.

The first payment of 150 thousand dollars was made in March 24th, 2017 from a company known as “Biniatta Trade LP, followed by two others on March 27th and June 9th consisting in 25 thousand dollars and 500 thousand dollars.

From the three payments, only the 25 thousand dollars one was made from Albania and has been admitted by Lulzim Basha.

Meanwhile, an investigation has begun in the US involving Nic Muzin, who is also accused of other cases.

The Albanian prosecution sent a letter of recommendation to the US to receive the statements of Nic Muzin, but they have not been received yet, since Muzin has requested to not be investigated in Albania about this case.

The payment of 650 thousand dollars towards Nick Muzin has been made from a Russian company, known as “Biniatta Trade LP.”

By suspending the investigation and reducing the accusation to documents forgery on two DP officials is practically an intentional destruction of the investigation as well as an attempt to declare as innocent the only person who has actually signed a contract with Nic Muzin, who is Lulzim Basha.

Firstly, the investigation should not have been suspended prior to receiving the recommendation letter from the US. The money has been paid in the US by the Democratic Party of Albania. For this reason, Albania should clarify how the transfer was made or who in the US paid in DP’s name.

Lulzim Basha has stated in the local media that he has received a 500 thousand dollars contribution from Albanian immigrants in the US in accordance with the US law. The transaction was made straight from the fund to the lobbying company and the money was never received by the Democratic Party, nor was any payment made from them.

Later on, Basha denied his statement, but despite that, the Prosecution should trace the transaction. The suspension of the investigation is intentional and a violation of the law.

Secondly, the Prosecution cannot accuse Arben Ristani for forgery since the contract was only signed by Lulzim Basha, who has already admitted it.

The reports sent to the Central Elections Commission, signed by the accountant of the Democratic Party do not have any details regarding the payments towards Nick Muzin by Lulzim Basha.

In this case, neither Arben Ristani nor the accountant have forged any documents, since they have only reported the expenses made conform to the Albanian laws.

The contract with Nick Muzin has been kept hidden by Lulzim Basha. So, the investigation towards Ristani and the DP’s accountant is illegal. Furthermore, neither has Lulzim Basha forged any documents sent to the CEC.

What Lulzim Basha has done is money laundering. An amount of 65 thousand dollars has been made in the US under the name of DP’s leader, while we do not know any details regarding the transaction and why was a Russian company used for this.

What is even more concerning is that the investigation against Mr. Basha was launched following the statements of the Russian company in the US and not because of the payments that were reported to CEC.

The accusation about forgery is focused on the documents submitted to CEC, which on their own do not consist of any forgery as long as the Russian payments are not being taken into consideration.

In this case, the Prosecution is pretending to know about an amount of money that was not declared to CEC. In fact, they are ignoring the investigation of the suspicious payment of 650 thousand dollars.

The whole effort is an attempt to ruin the case. Furthermore, Lulzim Basha has used the prosecutors for an internal war in his party by supporting the investigation in the statements of DP’s general secretary, who claims that the payments are responsibility of his predecessor.

This is a pervert way of testing Arben Ristani if he is going to speak against Lulzim Basha or take the responsibility upon himself.

In other words, the prosecution has intentionally decided not to investigate the case, except for one of its members, Kol Hysenaj who has not signed the suspension of the investigation.

I am not sure what might happen when the recommendation arrives from the US and new facts are revealed, but it is clear that the prosecution began the investigation for the money that was paid in the US and ended it for money that has been declared to CEC.

This is a shameless absurdity that only Albanian prosecutors can achieve by launching an investigation about money laundering and in the end suspending it to clean Lulzim Basha’s figure.


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