Albanian lawyer Idajet Beqiri has filed a criminal complaint with the Special Anti-Corruption Structure (SPAK) against former president Ilir Meta and his wife, fellow politician Monika Kryemadhi, in which he accused them of money laundering — and spending what he called an ‘outrageous’ amount on beauty treatments in foreign clinics.
This is one of several requests for investigations filed with SPAK against Meta since his term as president came to an end in July.
In the complaint, Beqiri called on SPAK prosecutors to launch a criminal probe into allegations of corruption and concealment of income.
He claimed Meta, Kryemadhi and their children spent an “outrageous amount” on beauty treatments at private hospitals in Vienna and San Marino.
The complaint calls for criminal proceedings for several alleged offences including concealing income, corruption, failure to declare assets and money laundering, according to an article on the complaint was published by Albanian newspaper Sot and re-posted by Beqiri on his Facebook page.
Beqiri said his investigation showed that Meta, Kryemadhi and their children had received treatments at the Casa di Cura Privata Domus Medica private hospital and clinic in San Marino.
“This hospital is mainly but not exclusively performed treatments and aesthetic interventions on ‘VIP' persons from the world of art, sports and showbiz. The above-mentioned private hospital is recognised as one of the costliest … This hospital is not only known for its highly qualified doctors, but also for the fees it applies to its patients, which are too high,” the statement alleged.
It also claimed that Silva Shametaj, a doctor at the clinic, is a personal friend of Meta and Kryemadhi.
A separate investigation was launched by SPAK just one month after Meta’s term ended, following a lawsuit filed by former MP Halit Valteri. According to local media reports, Valteri claimed that Meta used funds gained through corruption for lobbying, as well as laundering money.
Meta has denied the accusations against him.
Prime Minister Edi Rama called in a speech in May for SPAK to investigate both Meta and fellow former president Sali Berisha, who has been blacklisted by the US for “significant corruption”.
Meta was appointed president in 2017 with the backing of Rama’s Socialists and their then coalition partner, Meta’s Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI).
When Meta became president, Kyremadhi stepped in as leader of the LSI.
Since then, relations between the Socialists and LSI deteriorated and Meta became a strong critic of Rama’s government.
This spring, the parliament, where the Socialists have a majority, elected former defence chief Bajram Begaj to succeed Meta as president.
Immediately after his term as president ended, Meta outlined plans to revitalise the opposition SMI, which was renamed the Freedom Party.
More recently Meta threatened at a press conference on August 17 that “powerful protests” over the cost of living will take place in Albania. He blamed the price rises on corruption, claiming that prices will fall when people rise up against the government.