Prosecutors Extend Again the Period of Investigation on Former Albanian Minister Saimir Tahiri

The Serious Crimes Prosecution Office will continue investigating former minister Saimir Tahiri, and his alleged involvement with the Habilaj gang, for at least 3 more months, until April 2019.

The decision to extend the investigation period for the fourth time was taken yesterday by the case prosecutors: Dritan Prençi, Arenc Çela, and Vladimir Mara.

The prosecutors argued they needed more time for information from Montenegrin authorities to arrive, as well as for the translation from Italian language of the Habilaj gang file. The file was sent by the Italian Catania Prosecution and reached Albanian prosecutors on December 31. The Habilaj gang’s criminal activity was allegedly supported by Tahiri while he was in office.

Former Minister of Interior Affairs Saimir Tahiri stands accused of drug trafficking, participation in a criminal group, and passive corruption.

The fate of the investigation into Tahiri is still uncertain, as a result of the extralegal actions of Temporary General Prosecutor Arta Marku.

Marku allowed a key witness, Nazer Seiti, to be extradited to Italy even though the Albanian prosecution was investigating him with concern to the Tahiri-Habilaj case. The decision to extradite Seiti violated the Criminal Procedure Code, which does not permit extraditions when the person is under investigation in Albania.

Additionally, Marku dismissed the head of the Serious Crimes Prosecution, Besim Hajdarmataj, who was also leading the investigations into Tahiri’s case, and then illegally transferred him to the Pogradec Prosecution Office.