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A Russian-linked ghost company paid $150.000 for the Democratic Party/ The own goal that sink Lulzim Basha

15 Maj 2022, 11:02, English CNA
A Russian-linked ghost company paid $150.000 for the Democratic Party/ The own

Tirana Prosecutor?s Office launched an investigation for lobbying in the amount of 675.000 dollars through the company ?Muzin Capitol Partners?, where the defendant was Lulzim Basha, who at that time was leading the Democratic Party. The two payments of 650.000 dollars were paid on behalf of the DP for lobbying in the US in 2 installments, 500.000 and 150.000 dollars.

But the transactions were not carried out by Albania. While according to Basha, the payment of 500.000 dollars was made in US from the DP supporters who live there, the other payment of 150.000 dollars was made through Scotland from the company ?Biniatta Trade?.

On July 17, 2018, the Tirana Prosecutor?s Office received a reply to a letter from Scotland, according to which ?Biniatta Trade? had no business in this country. The Prosecution has asked a concrete question to Lulzim Basha, whether the DP has taken any ?action? of a criminal, civil or administrative nature against the American citizen Nicholas Muzin and his company ?Muzin Capitol Partners? regarding the facts that are deposited with the US Department of Justice to the detriment of the DP.

The declarant stated that no such action had been taken at that time. According to the prosecution, up to that moment, there were two major discrepancies between the legal documentation of the US State Department and the position of the DP representatives.

The first discrepancy has to do with an extra payment of $650.000 by the DP, and whether the contract with Nicholas Muzin was or not for electoral purposes. The second discrepancy has an important value in itself, because if the purpose was electoral, the expenditure had to be declared by the DP in specific acts for the 2017 election campaign, that are usually deposited with the CEC, something that the DP has not done.

On December 21, 2017, Lulzim Basha, in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Party, stated in a TV show that the money was declared and transferred in accordance with Albanian and American laws. According to him, over 100 Albanians living in the US had contributed to those funds, and they were not provided by the DP itself.

Donation of funds for political party is specified by Article 23/1 of Law no.8580 dated 17.02.2000 ?On political parties?. It stipulates that each political party must register in a special register approved by the CEC each fund benefited by having data that clearly identify the donor.

In the present case, this legal obligation has not been implemented. The Prosecution has investigated banking transactions in commercial banks in the period January 1, 2017-June 30, 2017, and it turns out that the DP has not made remittances in the amount of $ 500.000 or $ 150.000 to any entity outside Albania.

Further, the Prosecution requested to interrogate Nicholas Muzin, but the latter refused. But the documents collected and legally confirmed by the US Department of Justice, don?t absolve Lulzim Basha from criminal responsibility. This conclusion was reached by the Tirana Prosecutor?s Office during the investigation.

Because in this case we have data that don?t correspond to reality in the relevant form. This was done in order to hide the lobbying, done by a company with administrators related in business activity with Russian citizens.

So is hidden the amount of 500.000 dollars that was given in ?cash? on behalf of the Democratic Party to the foreign private company to lobby in Washington in favor of this political entity, given that the parliamentary elections would take place later in June 2017./CNA.al

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