Prosecution Office Shields PM Rama in Obama Photo-Op Scandal Former US President Barack Obama (l), PM Edi Rama, and Bilal Shehu (r).

Even though the General Prosecution Office promised in July 2016 to decide within a month on whether “criminal elements” would warrant an investigation of the alleged payment of $80,000 by then opposition leader Edi Rama’s campaign to the re-election campaign of then US President Barack Obama, three years later no announcement has been made.

The $80,000 were allegedly used to pay for an entrance ticket to a campaign event of Obama, where Edi Rama attempted to enter. Even though he was rejected at the entrance, he managed to capture a photograph of himself with the former US President, which became a main motif in Rama’s election campaign.

Recently, US judge sentenced a second accomplice in the wire transfer from Albania to the US, William Argeros, to four months imprisonment. Bilal Shehu, a limousine driver photographed with Edi Rama on the same US trip, was previously sentenced to probation.

Prime Minister Rama has so far refused to respond to the allegation, with spokesperson Endri Fuga stating to BIRN:

This is an old story and pretty much a clear one as regards the prime minister and we do not have any interest in dealing with who said what.

The opposition party PD has requested the Prosecution Office to start an investigation into the origins of the $80,000 sent through Argeros and Shehu to the Barack Obama reelection campaign to secure Rama’s attendance and photo op.