IBNA Special Report
Tirana, June 30, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
Last week, public opinion in Albania was shocked when armed men gunned down at the center of the financial district of Tirana, one of the most prominent businessmen in the country, owner of a bank and several media.
Artan Santo was shot in front of the Credins Bank headquarters, after being followed by two masked men on a motorbike from his home.
The perpetrators managed to quietly leave the crime scene. As they escaped from the luxurious area of Bllok to go through several quarters, city and villages, they were disturbed by police presence.
A road police officer was at the scene. He attempted to follow them and after him, the two men were followed by a colleague of his, but the chase which lasted up to Fushe Kruje, was not efficient. The authors disappeared in an unknown direction.
The way how this event happened makes not only citizens, but also experts believe that this is a mob like killing, intentionally perpetrated publicly.
In fact, the killing was carried out in front of the only Albanian bank, often supported by the governments of the country, situated near Villa 31, the official residence of the prime minister, next to the Presidential villa and the Presidency, Council of Ministers and Parliament.
Moreover, the area where the killing took place is known to host the most important financial institutions and the presence of security and state forces there is constantly high.
This act of crime shows not only the incompetence of police to prevent the killing and catch the authors, who seem to be a few steps further than the authorities.
Some believe that the economic crisis in the country and overseas has brought a direct effect in encouraging such crimes. Gjergj Buxhuku, general administrator of Konfindustria says that the public execution was a clear challenge of the crime. “The public killing of the late Mr. Artan Santo, is an open challenge that the crime has been manifesting to the law for a while now and a proof that it has put it in front of a very difficult test”, says Buxhuku.
He says that the country is facing a new and difficult reality and believes that the global crisis is the one to have brought this reality.
“The global crisis has accelerated the problems encountered in the consolidation of the economic, political and institutional system of the country and the latest criminal act is a proof for this”, says Mr. Buxhuku.
Under these circumstances, Konfindustria demands to the institutions of the Albanian state to solve this case as soon as possible and bring the perpetrators and above all, the master minders of the criminal act before justice.
“If the case is not solved immediately and with professionalism, it may shake the trust of domestic and foreign investors to work in Albania and the hope of the people for a sustainable democratic system”. He says that the state must be prepared for the worst warning that if measures are not taken, authorities themselves can face such acts. “Political class must become aware and take the necessary measures to draft long term strategies in this new and difficult reality for Albanian, before it’s too late”.
In spite of police efforts, so far there’s no leads on the authors who are believed to be contract killers and also their employers. Police has offered a 100 thousand Euro reward for anyone who in an anonymous way offers information which will lead to the identification of the hitmen. /ibna/