Saimir Tahiri appears in SPAK! The former interior minister under property investigation by special prosecutors

Saimir Tahiri, the former interior minister, appears in court under a property investigation by special prosecutors
Saimir Tahiri, the former interior minister, appears in court under a property investigation by special prosecutors

































The former Minister of the Interior, Saimir Tahiri, appeared at the Special Prosecutor's Office at noon today.
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Saimir Tahiri arrived at the premises of SPAK around 12:55 accompanied by lawyer Maks Haxhia. It is learned that the former minister has been summoned for questioning after a financial investigation has been launched against him.

Former Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri was released from his cell on June 2, 2023, after more than a year in prison.

In an article published by investigative media BIRN, it was written that while Tahiri was serving a prison sentence for abuse of office, his wife built a small business empire with investments in the tourism, aesthetics, construction and maritime transport sectors.

News in update…

Full BIRN article

'Eagle Residence' is a construction project with commercial units and apartments on Tahir Kadare street, near the former 'Shqiponja' square in Tirana. This project is not particularly different from the buildings that are sprouting on both sides of the entrance road of the capital, except for the fact that it is owned by the family of the former Minister of the Interior, Saimir Tahiri.

The Tahiri family's investments have attracted the attention of the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Corruption and Organized Crime. BIRN has learned that the latter has started a verification of all the assets of Tahir, his family members and persons related to him for several months in order to conclude about the legality of the source of their creation or if there is any hidden wealth.

However, Tahiri insists that his wife's ventures are transparent and they are based on properties inherited from parents and loans from the bank.

"The land where the construction is taking place is a land inherited from generation to generation of my wife's family," said Tahiri in a written response to BIRN, while adding that his father-in-law was born on the land where the palace was being built.

He emphasized that the property was nationalized during the period of the communist regime and returned to his wife's family during the 1990s - since then it has been used for service businesses by the brother-in-law.

"During communism the land was nationalized and reclaimed by law after 90," he said. "Since that time, this property has been used for my brother-in-law's business for more than 20 years - two restaurants and a bar, and also used for other businesses of his wife's family," Tahiri pointed out.

In relation to SPAK's investigations, the former Minister of the Interior emphasized that there was no official statement, but he expressed his readiness "to provide clarifications when necessary."

SPAK did not provide information until the publication of this article, whether a property investigation has been registered against the former Minister of the Interior and his family members.

Successful company

Saimir Tahiri, with a long career in the Socialist Party, appointed as Minister of the Interior in the 'Rama 1' government, was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months for "abuse of duty" after a long process, where he was accused by the prosecution of drug trafficking and organized criminal group.

Immediately after the announcement of the final decision by the Special Court of Appeal in February 2022, he was escorted to the detention facilities of prison '313' and subsequently to Fier prison.

After serving about 16 months of imprisonment, Tahiri was released from the cell by the decision of Elbasan judge Matlida Fetahu, who accepted his request to replace the prison sentence with "stay at home".

The request for Tahir's release was based on medical-legal expertise in which his and his wife's health condition was presented.

His lawyer, Maksim Haxhia, then claimed that Tahiri could no longer stay in the cell and that he had to take care of the children in a situation when his wife was sick - claims that were found to be fair by judge Fetahu.

However, the investments of Tahir's wife over the last few years seem to show that she has been quite active and successful in business.

In the declarations of private interests submitted to the Inspectorate of Declaration and Control of Assets and Conflict of Interest, ILDKPKI from 2010 to 2018, the former Minister of the Interior, Saimir Tahiri declares a family asset worth 23.2 million ALL, which consisted from real estate worth 12.3 million ALL, bank liquidity of 9.3 million ALL and "cash" savings of 1.5 million ALL.

The family income for the reporting period was 28.6 million ALL, of which 51% came from the salary of former minister Tahiri and about 48% from his wife's salary as a lecturer at the University of Tirana.

After the dismissal of the former minister due to the criminal process, his wife has registered a series of companies with activity in different fields, which according to the balance sheets submitted to the National Business Center have been successful.

Almost a month before Saimir Tahiri waived his immunity to make way for the imposition of the "house arrest" personal security measure, on April 4, 2018, his wife, Fatlinda Tahiri, had founded as sole partner with a capital of 100 thousand ALL the company Health Tourism Albania, HTC, with the object of activity "services in the field of medicine and health for locals and foreigners. Services in various medical specialties, visits, consultations, medical checks, examinations, etc.".

While Tahiri was facing the criminal process, the HTC company owned by his wife, bought the company Constech group sh.pk on May 5, 2020 for the value of the capital it had at that time, in the amount of 100 thousand ALL. Constech Group operates in the field of construction.

Following this, the 'parent' company created by Tahir's sister-in-law in 2018, has invested again by establishing Lavender Clinic on June 16, 2021, with the object of medical and aesthetic services.

On December 7, 2023, HTC with representative Fatlinda Tahirin, in the capacity of one of the three partners with 30% of the shares, signed the establishment of the company 'Albania Luxury Ferries' sh.pk, with a capital of 1 million lek and with the activity of sea transportation of passengers , as well as tourist agencies.

"The wife started the business as an agency for health tourism - consulting activity, and then, through a loan, she bought an aesthetic business (Lavender Clinic) for a value of about 30 thousand euros in 2019, in an area that is still rented today, " said Tahiri. "Since the acquisition to date the business has grown," he added.

As for the Albania Luxury Ferries company, Tahiri emphasized that it was a new project and "it has been created for almost two weeks, and with not a single day of activity."

Investment loans

On October 17, 2022, the Constech Group company announced on its Facebook page the start of construction work on the 'Eagle Residence'.

According to the information board for the project located in the construction site, the construction permit was approved by the mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj on November 1, 2021 and has a term of 60 months or five years.

The plot being developed has an area of ​​4740 m2, while the structures being built occupy 1888 m2. One of the buildings is determined to have 7 floors, while the other has 4 floors.

The table states that the land belongs to Saimir Tahir's wife, Fatlinda Tahir, and her father, Burhan Berisha, as the representative of the farming family.

'Smart investment', is written on the information boards placed around the construction site and it is noted that in Eagle Residence - which is advertised as a new pole of Tirana only 3.3 kilometers from the center, health services will be offered, as well as there will be bars and restaurants , apartments and shops.

Currently, the online announcement page shows apartments for sale by this company at a price of up to 1000 euros per m2.

According to the financial statements, the company "Constech Group" has an asset value of around 2.5 million euros. The investment is financed by a bank loan of around 700 thousand euros from Raifeissen Bank.

"The Constech company is only related to the construction on 29 Novtori Street," said Tahiri. "This construction was developed exclusively through credit," he emphasized.

The loan from Raifeissen is not the only debt that the Tahiri family has received. The former minister admitted that his wife also received a loan of 80 euros from businessman Julian Morina, although it is unclear what it was used for.

"He gave him a loan of 80.000 euros, with a notarial contract and a bank transfer," said Tahiri, while adding that the debt was returned in the same way. "There can be no more transparent circumstances," he concluded.

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