Britain has banned former Albanian Prime Minister Salih Berisha from entering the country, citing his involvement in organized crime and corruption, the UK said on Friday.
The British Embassy in Tirana tweeted Thursday that “the United Kingdom has taken punitive action against a number of Albanian individuals linked to crime and corruption.”
The embassy did not specify the individuals targeted.
Berisha, leader of Albania’s main opposition Democratic Party, said he was informed by Britain’s home secretary in a letter he described as confidential.
He added that he had decided to self-declare his travel ban.
The fight against corruption and organized crime has been Albania’s weak point since the communist era, and it has greatly affected its democratic, economic and social development.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken banned Berisha from entering the United States a year ago, citing corruption during his tenure as prime minister.
Berisha denied the allegations, saying Albania’s current Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama and American billionaire George Soros “helped” the decision.
Berisha was Albania’s first communist president between 1992 and 1997, when a pyramid scheme that cost many Albanians their life savings plunged the country into chaos.
His Democratic Party won the 2005 elections and Berisha became prime minister for two terms ending in 2013. Since then, he has been a deputy in the Albanian Parliament.
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