Albania and the United Kingdom to Establish Joint Task Force Against Organized Crime

 Following the success of the task force against illegal immigration, Albania and the United Kingdom are set to establish a joint task force against organized crime. Additionally, the two countries will conduct joint investigations and exchange information to dismantle criminal groups and seize their assets.

The head of SPAK, Altin Dumani and the head of NCA, Graeme Biggar, signing the memorandum of cooperation.
 The head of SPAK, Altin Dumani and the head of NCA, Graeme Biggar, signing the memorandum of cooperation.
This initiative is made possible through a memorandum signed between the Special Prosecution Office against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom. Graeme Biggar, the Director-General of the NCA, signed the memorandum with SPAK's head, Altin Dumani, on February 22nd.

SPAK hailed this agreement as a historic moment, being the first agreement the British agency has signed with an investigative structure in Albania.

"The main goal is to institutionalize the partnership between SPAK and NCA in their joint effort to combat organized crime, money laundering, and corruption among high-ranking public officials," stated SPAK in its announcement.

The memorandum envisions continuous engagement from both parties to enhance cooperation, aiming to yield concrete results in targeting some of the most significant activities of Albanian criminal groups in the United Kingdom and Albania, primarily in drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms trafficking, and money laundering.

Furthermore, SPAK emphasized that strengthening these relations has a direct impact on the security and stability of the rule of law in Albania, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. The work is set to commence immediately and will also include aspects related to advanced financial investigation strategies.

The Director-General of the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom later met with the General Director of the State Police, Muhamet Rrumbullaku. During the meeting, discussions were held regarding the establishment of joint task forces and investigative teams, as well as the immediate exchange of information to target criminal groups and seize assets derived from crime.

Two days earlier, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama met with the British Ambassador to Tirana, Alastair King-Smith. In the media briefing following the meeting, it was emphasized that the ambassador conveyed "the British Prime Minister's agreement for the United Kingdom to support the next phase of Albania's efforts for the rule of law reform and anti-corruption, including with the state police and the judiciary."

The National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom declared in September of last year that Western Balkan criminal groups have gained control over more cocaine and cannabis markets in the country.

British media have frequently reported cases where Albanian nationals are involved in criminal activities, and the proceeds are invested in various forms in Albania.

In December 2022, Albania and the United Kingdom signed a cooperation agreement to address illegal immigration. For this purpose, a joint task force was established, and the process of returning illegal immigrants began.
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