From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Minister Hints €110 Million Arbitration Award to Italian Businessman May Not Be Final

The Albanian Minister of Finance Anila Denaj has suggested that the court ruling for Albania to pay EUR 110 million to businessman Francesco Becchetti may not be final.

“In the case of Becchetti, we are waiting for a response from the State Attorney’s Office. We cannot legally budget the process if the State Attorney doesn’t say if the decision should be implemented.”

She made the comments to State Broadcaster RTSH yesterday.

The Minister added that in the pasty, they had made agreements to pay the damages in installments. She didn’t indicate whether such an agreement was reached with Becchetti.

“There are processes and contracts that if they are negotiated in time, could have compensated the damage of the lawsuit,”  she said.

Albania was ordered to pay €110 million to Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti following the “politically motivated” government closure of his Agon television channel in 2015.

The ICSID concluded back then that in the expropriation of Becchetti’s TV channel there was evidence of politically motivated campaign. The tribunal found that the evidence “strongly support[s] an inference that the seizure decisions were the culmination of a political campaign against the claimants.” Becchetti had originally claimed €650 million in damages but the court awarded him €110 million.

Earlier this week, Bechettei rented a billboard in one of Rome’s main squares to announce his victory in his arbitration case against Albania. 

​​“My name is Francesco Becchetti. I have fought against the political persecution of at least one government. I won,” reads the billboard raised in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, featuring a photo of a defiant Becchetti.

Rama maintains that the case is not over yet and that his government is going to win in the end.

It remains unclear what the government’s plan is as the decision of the court is final. Prime Minister Edi Rama has refused to reveal their approach to the case from hereafter, claiming Albania’s next step should be kept hidden from Becchetti.