From: Exit Staff
Air Albania’s Business Activity Suspended Following Failure to Declare Beneficial Owners

Air Albania, the country’s flag-bearing airline has been suspended by the National Business Centre for failing to declare the ultimate beneficial owners as per Albanian law.

Changes to business laws in the country to prevent money laundering mean that the ultimate beneficial owners of any company must be registered with the authorities. Air Albania, however, has failed to do so and has been suspended as of 1 September until a fine is paid and the data is submitted.

The Law “On the Register of Beneficial Owners” provides that all reporting entities had until 30 June 2021 to register the information, but this was extended until 30 June 2022, meaning there was ample time for the airline to comply.

According to the law, the fine payable is 600,000 lek, equivalent to EUR 5,000.

Air Albania was created in 2018 as a public-private partnership project, including a Turkish government-owned company, an Albanian state-owned company and a private company.

The Turkish partner is Turk Hava Yollari AO, otherwise known as Turkish Airlines. It is primarily owned by the Turkish government, which holds 49.12% of its shares, whereas 50.88% are publicly traded.

Albcontrol sha is owned by the Albanian government via the Ministry of Finance and Economy and manages Albania’s airspace in compliance with international air navigation standards.

MDN Investment shpk is a private company that was created on 7 May 2018, nine days before the government decree that made it a shareholder of Air Albania. The seed money for the company is about €100,000 and was wholly owned by Sinan Idrizi.

In June 2020, Idrizi faced Turkish courts on charges of embezzlement relating to $3.5 million related to the deal, but he was acquitted in November of the same year. Idriza changed the shares over to Ajada Idrizi and Rejana Idrizi in 2018.

Turkish Prosecutors Demand Up to 10 Years in Prison for Air Albania Major Shareholder CEO

The airline also had problems getting its EASA authorisation, allowing it to fly in the EU. As a response, Air Albania chose to wet-lease aircraft from Turkish Airlines, allowing them to carry out flights to the EU under the license of the Turkish aviation company. It was finally granted its approval in May 2020.

In its latest round of issues, it was also found it had only submitted its 2018 balance sheet to the authorities, which shows zero activity, while those for 2019 and 2020 have not been submitted. This is another violation of the law, as the deadline for submission has passed. As for 2021, they have until 15 September to file them.