Socialist Mayor of Vau i Dejes Mark Babani was arrested and sentenced in Italy for stealing cars, according to the opposition.
The opposition Democratic Party (PD) published a copy of a document today, allegedly showing Babani’s arrest and conviction.
PD General Secretary Gazmend Bardhi claimed the copy came from Italian prisons’ register.
Bardhi explained that Mark Babani was arrested under the false name of Saimir Marq Babaj in Sicily on 4 April 1994, after police caught him stealing cars.
“Mark Babani alias Marq Babaj stayed in prison until 6 May 2019 and was later sentenced and expelled from Italy,” Bardhi added.
He warned that this was only a part of Bababi’s criminal dossier.
Mayor Babani refuted allegations and said he will sue Gazmend Bardhi for defamation:
“I was in a hotel on April 4, 1994, and I was working. I’ve never been arrested or detained in my life.”
One week before, the opposition had required prosecutors to investigate the mayor for possible violation of the Decriminalization Law.
High officials in Albania are required by law to declare their past criminal activities. The individual faces criminal charges if he/she fails to declare such activity before running for office.
Mark Babani is the third mayor the opposition has denounced for hiding their criminal past, following the June 30 elections held by the ruling Socialist Party. Mayor-elect Valdrin Pjetri withdrew from taking office after the PD alleged that he hid a conviction for drug-dealing. Mayor of Vora Agim Kajmaku is being investigated after the opposition published documents alleging he is wanted in Greece under an alias – Jorgo Toto.
Prime Minister Edi Rama has kept silent for more than two weeks regarding opposition allegations.