Albania's former top prosecutor arrested in Italy on corruption charges

Access to the comments Comments
By AP
Corruption has long been an issue in Albania.
Corruption has long been an issue in Albania.   -   Copyright  ARMEND NIMANI / AFP, FILE

The former chief prosecutor of Albania has been arrested while on the run from authorities in Italy, police said.

Adriatik Llalla was convicted in October of hiding money from illegally owned properties and sentenced to two years in prison.

Llalla -- who served as Albania’s prosecutor general from 2012 to 2017 -- left the country after the court found him guilty of falsely declaring his assets.

Albanian police said Lllalla’s “whereabouts and arrest was made possible" after communication with Interpol authorities in Italy.

Police added that they will now begin proceedings to extradite the former prosecutor.

Llalla was originally convicted in May and sentenced by an Albanian court that handles top officials’ corruption cases.

He had failed to justify how he had financed the purchase of 5.4 acres of land and a new apartment, as well as his family’s expenses in the United States and Germany.

In October, the Tirana Appeals Court rejected his appeal and upheld the verdict.

Llalla’s lawyer had asked for the sentence to be suspended for health reasons, but the request was denied, and an international arrest warrant was issued.

"Adriatik Llalla has committed the penal crime and should be held accountable penally," Judge Nertina Kosova said.

The 52-year-old also had his own property confiscated by judges and is barred from holding any public post for five years. Llalla resigned from his role as Albania’s most senior prosecutor in December 2017.

Corruption in senior officials has long plagued Albania's democratic, economic and social development. Many judges and prosecutors have been dismissed for alleged corruption and illegally acquiring property and money.

Llalla was the first high-ranking person to be sentenced by newly formed judicial institutions that were established to address the issue.