World Bulletin / News Desk
Albanian prosecutors have frozen the assets of Italian businessman Francesco Bechetti and issued arrest warrants for him and his associates on suspicion of money laundering.
An Albanian justice official said on Tuesday an international arrest warrant had been issued for Bechetti and some of his associates over the financing of a planned hydroelectric scheme, and authorities had frozen the assets of his electricity, television and other interests.
"They are suspected of being involved in a giant money laundering scam of millions of euros," the Tirana prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Bechetti bought fourth-tier English soccer team Leyton Orient last year, and also launched a satellite television station from Albania featuring veteran Italian TV stars.
The investigation centres around an electricity project in which Bechetti's company KGE contracted a firm called Energji, controlled by his mother Liliana Condomitti, to build a hydro-power plant in southern Albania. Prosecutors say Energji inflated the price of works billed to KGE. The power station has yet to be built.
Bechetti denies any wrongdoing, according to his lawyer, Theodhori Sollaku, a former prosecutor general, who said the prosecutors' position was "confused".
"Money laundering derives from a criminal deed but the prosecution does not prove its criminal nature," Sollaku told Reuters.
The prosecution said its task force unit had enough evidence to charge Bechetti and his associates, including his mother, with "collusion in forging documents more than once" and "laundering money from criminal deeds".Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Haziran 2015, 17:12