Albanian Electiongate: Wiretaps Show Collusion Between Socialist Leaders and Crime Bosses
The German newspaper Bild published today six wiretapped phone conversations between members of a criminal organization and party and government leaders in the region of Durrës.Most notably, some of the conversations took place between Mayor of Durrës Vangjush Dako, also head of the Socialist Party for the Durrës Region and Astrit Avdylaj, the boss of an international drug trafficking criminal organization, and his gang members.Conversations show collusion between Dako and Avdylaj for manipulating the 2017 parliamentary elections, through vote-buying, voter intimidation and funding of the Socialist Party campaign. They also show Avdylaj to have direct access and control over heads of several local government institutions, who provide favors to him, including revocation of business fines.Perhaps in the most damning revelation, the tapes show that Avdylaj crime organization was capable to include its own people in the Socialist Party’s parliamentary and mayoral candidates lists—at least one of them managed to be elected and now is an MP.