Former Albanian PM says UK banned him from entering

Sali Berisha

Former Albanian prime minister and Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha speaks during an anti-government rally in Tirana, Albania, on July 7, 2022

Photo : AP

Former Albanian prime minister and president Sali Berisha said on Friday that he was banned from entering the United Kingdom over his involvement in organised crime and corruption, accusations he rejected.
On Thursday, the British Embassy in Tirana tweeted that “this week the UK has taken disruptive action against several Albanian individuals with ties to criminality and corruption,” without naming them.
However, Berisha — the first democratically-elected president of Albania after the fall of communism who now heads the main opposition party — confirmed he was among those banned.

“I have been informed by a letter that the Home Secretary has decided to ban my entry into the United Kingdom,” Berisha said.

He added that the note links him to “organised crime and criminal groups,” accusations he said were slanderous.

He accused his main political rival — Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama — along with US billionaire George Soros of being behind the accusations against him.

The 77-year-old was also banned from entering the United States last year over “corrupt acts while he was prime minister”.

Berisha, a cardiologist by profession, formed the centre-right Democratic Party in 1990 and was elected two years later as president of the Balkan nation, a position he held until 1997.

In 2005, Berisha’s party won Legislative Elections and saw him elected as prime minister, a post he held until 2013.