Ex-Police Chief in Albania Oltion Bistri Implicated in 4 Million Euro Scandal

 The value of confiscated assets, resulting in the name of former director of the Operational Force, Oltion Bistri, and his family, has surpassed 4 million euros. The arrest of Bistri occurred in July last year, and his assets have been under scrutiny since then. On Tuesday, the Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime and Corruption announced that the Special Court had accepted its request to seize additional illicit assets. This decision comes after earlier measures were taken in January, seizing three apartments in Tirana, totaling over 900 square meters, valued at over 450 thousand euros, as well as two shops, also in the capital, with a total area of 220 square meters, valued at over 530 thousand euros.

Oltion Bistri during a speech when he was on duty and the SPAK building in the background
 Oltion Bistri during a speech when he was on duty and the SPAK building in the background (montage)
The recently seized properties include 22 shops and business premises, as well as 10 apartments, 1 villa, 1 garage, and a plot of land in various areas of Tirana. According to notarial acts accompanying their purchase transactions, the value is estimated at 3.1 million euros, but current market prices could be significantly higher, as VOA reports.

According to the Special Prosecutor's Office, "against the citizen Oltian Bistri and his family members (who have had transactions linked or suspected to have been carried out for citizen Oltian Bistri), all possible asset verifications have been carried out, resulting in the ownership of assets valued several times higher than the lawful incomes obtained by him and his family."

The former police officer was arrested as part of investigations into several criminal groups in the country, after his name was revealed through decryption by Belgian and Dutch justice authorities of communications made via the encrypted service Sky EncroChat, which were handed over to the Special Prosecutor's Office.

Bistri had a long experience in the police force, holding several important positions. The operational forces he led until a few days before his arrest are among the most important structures conducting, among other things, environmental surveillance on behalf of the prosecution. Bistri is suspected of providing criminal elements with information he obtained due to his duties.

Investigations against him have been concluded, and the Prosecutor's Office sent the case for trial last week, charging the former senior officer with three accusations, from "Corruption," "Disclosure of secret acts and data" to "Money laundering."

During the operation that led to his arrest, the head of the Kukes Prosecutor's Office, Xhevair Lita, a former police employee, well-known crime world figures, and businessman Pellumb Gjoka, who is suspected to be involved in a murder, were also arrested. Last October, three separate forest areas totaling 390 thousand square meters were seized from Gjoka. According to the Special Prosecutor's Office, two of the areas were registered in the name of various commercial companies and one in the name of a private individual, but investigations "have reasonable suspicions based on evidence that they were acquired through falsification of documents carried out by Pellumb Gjoka, in cooperation with other individuals."

The businessman Gjoka's name has often been mentioned in political circles, as the opposition has accused him of being involved in buying votes in favor of the Socialist Party. Previously engaged in gambling, in July 2021, his company Imperial Group was granted the status of a strategic investor for the construction of a tourist resort in Velipoja, valued at 52 million euros. An investment that does not seem to have started.
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