“Panama Papers”, the investigations of the Albanian authorities

“Panama Papers”, the investigations of the Albanian authorities

On the photo: Ismail Mulleti, the Albanian involved in the files of the financial scandal “Panama Papers”, co-owner of “GFI Technologies”

Tirana, 6 April 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

The so called “Panama Papers” scandal seems to have mobilized Albanian authorities to start investigating the laundry of the proceeds of corruption and evasion of taxes from companies registered in tax heavens.

Investigations have been launched by the General Prosecution, High Inspectorate of the Declaration of Assets and the Financial Intelligence Unit. These institutions have started to shed light upon details from the mega scandal of the “Panama Papers”.

Official sources said that General Prosecution is collaborating with other law enforcement agencies “to clarify the situation on the possible involvement in the “Panama Papers” case of companies or Albanian or foreign citizens who operate in the Albanian financial market”.

Preliminary information indicates that in Albania there are 2 companies, 3 beneficiaries and 22 shareholders who are in the Panamanian tax heaven.

So far, the company that has been discovered is GFI Technologies. A few years ago, this company won the tender for the fuel marking in Albania, a tender which became a subject of debate for politics and business.

The documents relating to companies or people from the Balkans are expected to become public in two weeks, but an article by the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” has discovered that a lawyer from Israel, Assaf Halkin along with an Albanian national, identified by the name of Ismail Mulleti, a prominent businessman in the ‘90s, are, along with the Canadian company “Global Fluids International”, owners of GFI Technologies registered in 2013 in Anguillas.

Albanian police have verified the movements in and out of Albania of Ismail Mulleti and the Israeli national Assaf Halkin. Mulleti has left the country a few weeks ago, in March, while Halkin in the month of February. They have held many travels in and out of Albania and these travels have often been carried out on charters.

Meanwhile, Albanian newspapers have also started to mention names of Albanian politicians for allegedly being involved in this scandal.

Petrit Vasili, the head of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Movement for Integration, the second largest party of the government coalition, demanded for  authorities in the country to be careful in investigating any information concerning “tax heavens”.

After the publication of the first pieces of information, the public opinion is looking forward to learning the names of the people involved, as this could have an impact on the political developments in the country.

Accusations for corruption and corruption affairs are the most frequent ones that Albanian politicians of all levels articulate in the debates taking place among them. /ibna/