Albania Ex-Minister Blames Sex Pictures on Revenge

Former Minister Dritan Prifti says intimate pictures circulating online have only emerged because he has accused Speaker Ilir Meta of corruption.

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Albanian media have published leaked photos and tape allegedly featuring a former energy minister in intimate positions with a woman, in what his supporters say is retaliation for his role in uncovering corruption.

Online portals in Albania have published pictures of the former Economy and Energy minister Dritan Prifti, and they say that a full video will be released soon. Hours after the pictures began circulating online, Prift accused the Speaker of Parliament and leader of Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI, Ilir Meta, of organizing the leak.  “I knew that this tape existed. I have been blackmailed for five years about the publication of the tape,” he said.

Prifti claimed that Meta’s subordinates made the video five years ago and that his wife knew all about it. “Today we are together and stronger than ever,” Prifti said. He added that the leaked pictures and the alleged tape would not stop him from denouncing corruption by Meta and his allies. “Now it is my turn again,” he said. LSI denied the allegations.

The pictures extracted from the sex tape have not been distributed widely in social media and have not gone viral, as some other leaked tapes have done. Comments on online portals, which published the pictures, were full of disapproval for the content and showed a lack of interest into Prifti’s private life. Many of the commentators said they were more interested in learning the truth about alleged corruption affairs of their elected officials. Prifti has accused Meta of being involved in allegedly corrupt dealings between a debt-collecting company DIA and CEZ Albania. Meta has been identified in an international arbitrage case as one of the politicians who influenced and benefited from the contract that CEZ Albania signed with DIA.

The allegations, uncovered by BIRN, have sparked a debate in Albania about the role of politicians in the affair. Prifti told the media that one reason why he quit as a minister was pressure from Meta on him to favour DIA in getting the debt collection contract for CEZ Albania. Since 2011, Prifti has been a bitter opponent of the LSI, which he and Meta together established. Earlier, from 2009 to 2010 Prifti was the LSI Minister of Economy and Energy in a government led by Sali Berisha.

However, in January 2011, he released a video taken with a hidden camera that showed Meta asking him as a minister to do an illegal favour. As a result of this video, Meta resigned as Vice Prime Minister.

Balkan Insight

1 October 2015