Money Laundering is Destroying the Albanian Economy, Argues Former Opposition MP Shehaj

The continuous weakening of Euro against Albanian Lek (ALL) is related to the rise in drug cultivation and trafficking in the country, as well as money laundering through the construction industry, according to former opposition Democratic Party MP Agron Shehaj.

Shehaj argued in a Facebook post that ALL has kept strengthening against Euro since the second half of 2016, which “coincides with harvests of the massively cultivated cannabis” in Albania. He added that since then the rise in drug trafficking from Albania has been accompanied with the weakening of Euro, thus bringing the exchange rate against ALL very close to the lowest level in the last two decades.

Euro to Albanian Lek exchange rate

The former MP warned against further strengthening of ALL:

“The massive money laundering – stemming from crime money (drugs, trafficking, evasion, corruption etc.) – through the construction industry, which is looming with the Rama government’s direct encouragement, will further weaken the Euro.”   

Shehaj went on to argue that this has “destroying” effects on “foreign investments, exports, and tourism” which are the “most vital sectors of the Albanian economy”. He added that money laundering also keeps off innovative businesses in particular.

“Crime is destroying the weak Albanian economy. If the capture of economy by criminal interests and money laundering are not immediately stopped, the long-term consequences for Albania will be grave.”

One Euro was equivalent to 138 Albanian Lek in June 2016. Since then it has continually weakened and today one Euro is just 121 Lek.