TIRANA (Reuters) – Albania’s former president and prime minister, Sali Berisha, said on Friday he had been banned by London from entering the UK for supposedly having links with criminal groups.The British embassy in Tirana said only that the United Kingdom had taken action “against several Albanian individuals with ties to criminality and corruption.” It did not name Berisha.
In a similar move last year, Berisha and his family were barred by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken from entering the United States due to what Washington said were corrupt acts and abuse of power.
Berisha said in a statement on Friday that all accusations from Washington and London were “based on slanders.”“No one else in the government has fought organized crime, and had the results that I had,” he said.
Berisha served as president from 1992 to 1997, immediately after the fall of communism in Albania, and as prime minister between 2005 and 2013.Berisha is the de facto leader of the Democratic Party, the biggest opposition party, which he created after the collapse of the communist era.
Berisha does not face any criminal proceedings in Albania.
(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci and Florion Goga in Tirana; Editing by Matthew Lewis)