Head of opposition’s Democratic Party (PD) Lulzim Basha stated that prosecution charges against him lacked evidence and were “cooked up in [Prime Minister] Edi Rama’s office.”
Basha appeared before prosecutors today, following their summons of last week to present him with charges related to PD’s lobbying in the US ahead of the 2017 general elections (read here and here).
Prosecutors Ervin Karanxha, Kolë Hysenaj, and Gjergji Tako of the Tirana Prosecution Office summoned Lulzim Basha to appear before them on June 17, and be presented with charges of falsification of documents and money laundering, in connection with PD’s lobbying in the US.
In a press statement, Basha replied that he was going to comply with their summons once the latter complied with legal requirements and included “a summary of the evidences resulting from the investigation.”
Prosecutors said their summons was conform the law and demanded the court police to accompany the opposition leader tomorrow, on June 20.
Today, Basha argued that charges on him aimed to distract the public opinion from the recently published wiretaps, while more are expected to be published tomorrow by Bild, evidencing the manipulation of elections by Prime Minister Edi Rama.
[This is] because of the scandals published by Bild, and more expected to be published tomorrow, according to rumors. Prosecution had no evidence since my last time seeing them on May 25. The simple reason for that is that the charge was formulated by Edi Rama.
They had nothing; a charge brought to distract [attention] from scandals published by Bild. They didn’t have the case file ready today because they have no file – it’s a political case.
Basha said the prosecution office regularly summoned him when a government scandal erupted:
I have been here five times before: first for the Tahiri case, then for the Xhafajs, then Rrajas, then Dako, then for the Toyota-Yaris case […], every time a government scandal erupts.
Asked why he did not appear before prosecutors on Monday, June 17, Basha replied:
Because of the simple fact that they did not follow the law [with their summons], and now they had a plan to distract [public attention] from the scandals expected to be published.
The Bild journalist investigating into the Albanian government manipulation of elections, Peter Tiede has implied that new wiretaps might be published tomorrow.
The opposition has earlier announced a protest on Friday, June 21.