Corruption probe launched into Albania’s ex-president Meta

Corruption probe launched into Albania’s ex-president Meta
By bne IntelliNews August 25, 2022

A corruption investigation has been launched into former Albanian president Ilir Meta just one month after his term ended. 

The Special Prosecutor’s Office against Corruption and Organised Crime (SPAK) launched the probe 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. 

The head of SPAK has reportedly sent a letter to the Central Election Commission (CEC) asking for a copy of the decriminalisation form filed by Meta. 

"Since the leader of the party has decided to openly serve the mafia of incinerators in panic, please familiarise yourself with another serious request for the biggest scumbags of Ramaforma [a reference to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama]. September is coming and People's Justice will not stop anymore! Nothing will stop Ramovic you can't save anymore!" wrote Meta on social media as news of the investigation broke.

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). 

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. 

Meta stepped down as head of the SMI on becoming president in 2017, and the party was taken over by his wife, Monika Kyremadhi, while he served five years as president. 

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.