Judge Sokol Pasho ruled prison arrest for Karlo Sances, Karlo Trojano and Roberto Zabala, as well as 10 days prison arrest for Bruno Karistia and 15 days for Victor Fernando.
On January 21, after police exercised control in their house found: a "Scorpions" automatic with silencer, a gun and two knives.
The group of foreigners had transferred tens of thousands of dollars from Albania to one of the banks of Bolivia.
Only in November, within two days, the group sent 10 bills worth 10 000 dollars each in the address of Santa Cruiz in Bolivia. The bills were signed by Trojano Karlos, with destination Jorge Antonio Flores.
The group has carried out his activity under cover of computer fortune games in Tirana and in several districts of Albania. /jz/kled/mt/e
The running after the end of the first phase of the championship is: Flamurtari in the first place with 37 points, Tirana with 33 points and Vllaznia in the third place with 33 points./a.ke/eva/mt/
President Rugova condemned this blast once again, as wella as the murders of Albanians in Kosova, accused of being Serbs' "collaborationist". He drew attention even to the threatens of the paramilitary Serbs, known for participation in the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and with the actions in Kosova, and asked the interruption of Serbian violence and provocations.
Responding to a question on "the responsibility taken by UCK", (Kosova Liberation Army), dr. Rugova said that "we do not have information for the existence of such a organization".
On January 16, a car-bomb blasted in Pristina, where the Serbian rector of Pristina University, Radivoje Popovic, was injured. /b.j/p.ta/eva/mt/E
Premier Meksi establishes two technical sub-commissions for the problem of loan-taking, reports the paper under the title "Return of money within a short time". RD reports on the first page that people in Lushnja set the town hall, district council and cinema of the city on fire. "At a time when none of the participants in the illegal meeting was injured, it is reported that three policemen of riot police are in hospital in a grave situation, and 12 others are slightly wounded", writes the paper.
"Yes to peaceful protest, no to violence and destruction", reports Zeri i Popullit under the headline "Bosses of usuries before court, their creditors on streets and squares". "SP supports the peaceful and regular protests of citizens, but appeals to distance from violence and destruction", underlines the paper.
Under the title "Professionist solution, no manoeuvres to avoid the responsibility of the government on usuries", the paper carries an interview with the economist Arben Malaj.
"Albania broken up, Lushnja orders curfew", reports Republika. "The Right Wing League of Shkodra demands the annulment of the frozen money", reports the paper, regarding the news conference of the leaders of this league.
The news conference of President Rugova is highlighted by Rilindja paper under the title "The beginning of public statements for the recognition of Kosova independence". The paper reports the meeting of President Berisha with the government officials under the title "To help the defraud citizens".
The anger of Myzeqe set the town hall on fire", reports Albania paper regarding the clashes in Lushnja.
The paper entitles its editorial "The end of usuries. Opposition tries to exploit it for its aims". "For more than a week the Albanian opposition (its leaders) is trying to exploit in politics the misfortune of people who had lost their money in the game of usuries", reports the paper.
"Complete chaos" is the editorial of Koha Jone. "The evils of Albania seem to have come out the day in which the first pyramid scheme declared its collapse", reports the paper. The paper also writes "The trust in VEFA falls down".
In the heading "Analysis", Dita Informacion carries the article "Better late than never". "Presidents of two foundations Populli and Xhaferri, Bashkim Driza and Rrapush Xhaferri declared Friday before the court they were not pyramids", reports the paper.
Bashkimi entitles its editorial "Improductivity". "Unfortunately, the left opposition, self-called 'progressist', confessed once again that it is completely barren. In the heading "Tribune of intellectuals" the paper publishes the article "The linguist and the dictionary".
The anger of usuries turns into flames" reports Gazeta Shqiptare. "Lushnja under the hail of stones. Fire in the town hall", reports the paper, adding that 12 policemen of riot police are hospitalized, injured by the stones hurled during the protests./kled/mt/sh/
Meanwhile that in Pellumbi house were found some other $900 000, packed.
These amounts were deposited by Xhaferri sons on their names, meanwhile that they had declared their separation from the foundation.
These money belong to the defraud people, but the sons of "General" had privatized them.
On Thursday evening, police uncovered 2 million dollars, hidden in a house at "Shallvare" quarter in Tirana, from the president of Populli foundation, Bashkim Driza.
According to police sources, the address of the house where Driza had hidden the "treasure", came out from the intensive investigations conducted in the last two days, right after the arrest of "Populli" president and some of his accomplices. According to the same source, only Bashkim Driza had the key of this house.
It is thought Driza to have exchanged a part of the money collected from citizens, to leave aside as a capital for his own self./eva/mt/sh/
Further on, some of them entered the offices of the town hall and set fire to the offices of the district archive and to some other offices as well. Two official vehicles and a water cannon were also burnt.
The protesters continue to stand by in front of the town hall and in the main square. No policeman has intervened to face with the angry crowd./mt/
The Albanian Football Federation (AFF) today suspended all football activities on national scale.
The Deputy Secretary General of AFF, Gjergji Thaka, told ATA that "in all the districts the AFF has distributed a communique announcing the suspension of all football activities until a second announcement by the AFF."
A match between the Partizani and Tomorri teams, which ended 1-1, was held yesterday afternoon at the "Selman Stermasi" stadium in the capital.
The match also marked the beginning of the 18th week (second phase) of the 58th national football championship. pas/lm/z/
"The main motivation of this award is his precious contribution to the agricultural marketing of chemical fertilizers," the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Bamir Topi, said at the meeting.
He has contributed to the cooperation of the Institute of Seeds with the Mississippi University, the creation of the laboratory for the control of seeds and efforts for the creation of the Albanian Genetic Bank.
"I thank the Government and the President for the great honour done to me. This has been the most pleasant experience in my 20-year-old working practice," Diamond said.
The representative of the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), Diane Blane, said that the success of this project has been mainly a result of the devotion of his staff. eva/lm/Z/
Some 86% of the grave penal acts have been committed by the Greeks themselves and 8% by the immigrants of other nationalities, radio BBC cites the Greek Minister of Public Order as saying.
However, the BBC reports, the Greek weekly "Todhima" , referring to the results of a survey carried out during the last days of 1996, before the explosion of what was considered "anti-Albanian hysteria" in the first ten days of January, says that "the natives who responded questions of the opinion poll had no good word to say for the Albanian immigrants".
The Greek minorities, who have come from Albania as immigrants have not escaped the arrows of antipathy, either, radio BBC reports. Some 25 % of the natives have a negative opinion of them.
The data presented by the Greek minister also turn down the hypotheses of the press as well as of the Greek police that the Albanians are responsible for the most part of the crime in relation to drug, the BBC concludes. kled/lm/Z/
Six judges issued the prison arrest order against nine persons, while against the rest the order of compulsory appearance in the judicial police station.
The Tirana court yesterday ordered the arrest in jail of the two leaders of the so-called charitable foundations "Populli" and "Demokracia Popullore Xhaferri", respectively Bashkim Driza and Rrapush Xhaferri, on charges of embezzlement in great proportions through fraudulence in complicity".
The two foundations have exercised a loan-taking activity in great proportions and have extended their affiliates to the major cities of the country, applying high interest rates.
In the meantime, on January 16, the Council of Ministers, in order to avoid consequences, taking into account the pyramid character of the "Sude" firm, as well as the preliminary data provided by the Transparence Commission on the other foundations, decided to freeze in favour of the Albanian citizens the total amount of 25.5 billion leks deposited by the foundations in the state banks. jz/lm/Z/
The subcommission charged with the drafting of the law on the distribution of the monetary and property values of the foundations whose operation was based on pyramid schemes discussed the need of considering the secured documentation and its accounting, the criteria of defining the debt owed to every depositor, the criteria of distributing the money, and other criteria.
To this end, the financial experts today began to familiarize themselves in the Tirana prosecutor's office with the documentation secured so as to further with its completion with the registers and other data from all the branches of the foundations.
The subcommission charged with the task to study the situation of the investing companies considered indispensable the beginning of contacts with these firms to study their economic and financial situation, the value of the deposits, the state and level of the documentation and other issues.
Prime Minister Meksi today met the president of the VEFA Holding Company, Vehbi Alimuca. The two discussed the aforesaid problems and considered useful the establishment of dialogue between the parties.
Alimuca expressed his belief that in a short awhile his company would respond to his creditors up to full liquidation without affecting the investments and business of the company.
Meksi offered the assistance of the government's experts to solve the company's problems and determine the way to support the companies for a profitable activity, also in the context of their cooperation with foreign companies.
Meksi will also hold contacts with other investing firms while the subcommission cooperates with them.jz/lm/Z
The delegation of the Foreign Commission of the Italian Parliament Chamber of Deputies held a news conference today at the residence of the Italian ambassador in Tirana, prior to his departure from Albania.
The deputy president of this commission, Vito Leccese, (Green party) said that during its stay in Albania the delegation he headed had familiarised itself with the political and economic situation in Albania, and said that this was the objective of the visit.
Leccese expressed Italy's commitment to support Albania. He said that Albania was not the Colombia of Europe as it had been trumpeted.
"The transition period always has social problems. The Italian investments for Albania will not remain bureaucratic decisions," Leccese said, adding that Italy was interested in Albania's integration into Europe. "We will further promote bilateral cooperation," Leccese said.
The other member of the commission, Mario Brunetti (Communist Re- founding) laid the stress on the overcoming of the situation created due to the collapse of the pyramid scheme companies.
"The political forces should cooperate to avoid the crisis caused by these companies. We will help overcome the crisis and consider a duty our assistance for Albania's integration into Europe," Brunetti said.
Brunetti appreciated Albania's position as a significant factor of peace in the Balkans.
"The stabilisation of the situation in Kosova is one of the most important issues of the Balkans," Brunetti said pledging Italian aid also in this issue.
The commission members also thanked the Italian ambassador to Albania, Paulo Foresti, for the perfect organisation of the meetings of the delegation with Albanian authorities and political forces. pas/lm/Z/
Yesterday afternoon and this morning inhabitants of the Lushnja town, angry because of the failure of the loan-taking pyramid scheme companies "Populli" and "Xhaferri", have set ablaze the district council and town- hall buildings and even the town's cinema.
This morning they stoned the building of the town's commissariat, while by midday they attacked, destroyed and set on fire even the town's savings bank. pas/lm
While the SP Secretary General, Rexhep Mejdani, refused to take part in this meeting.
Also present was the Speaker of Parliament, Pjeter Arbnori, and Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi.
Berisha familiarised the participants with the difficult situation created for several days now due to the failure of the pyramid schemes, which created pain and serious problems and asked their opinion to overcome this situation.
The participants in the meeting expressed full understanding over the despair and anger of the people as well as the right to protest peacefully. They denounced the violent acts demonstrated by certain groups instrumentalised in the gatherings in Lushnja, Berat, Gramsh and Belsh.
They asked the full engagement of the government to carry out, through legal, transparent and accelerated procedures, the reimbursement of the money to the people.
Also they called on the affected people to distance themselves from the terrorist elements and allow time to the government to act, as the reimbursement of their money is sure.
After the meeting Berisha addressed an appeal to all Albanian citizens to keep self-control, assuring them that great, serious and sincere efforts would be made to resolve the created problem in the best way.
"I call on them not to listen to the deceivers, manipulators, who also today whisper to them that the money will not be reimbursed, that the schemes have not been pyramid like. I call on them not to fall victim of this fraudulence," Berisha said.
The money will be completely reimbursed to the people as promised, but I call on them to listen to reason that no one can distribute in one, two or three days the money of 200 000 to 300 000 investors. This requires time, procedure and estimation. I invite all the depositors to set up their commissions and cooperate with the government's commission, which will be completely open regarding the whole documentation. I also call on them to protect and not damage the property.
The acts taking place in Berat today have nothing in common with the culture of Berat, Lushnja or some other city.
They are completely alien to our culture, our civilisation. They are acts of manipulators, who speculate upon the legal despair and disaster of the Albanian citizens due to these schemes and realise such uncivilised acts, completely punishable and unacceptable." pas/lm
TIRANA, JAN 25 (ATA) By Agim Baçi: President Berisha invited Saturday the representatives of Albanian parliamentary political parties to discuss the situation created in several towns of Albania, especially in Lushnje and Berat, after the collapse of the foundations which applied pyramid schemes.
"We call on the Albanian people to show self-control. The Albanian people should not fall prey to the communist conjunctures, conjunctures of the Former Sigurimi, which in these moments seek to gain political credit from the great loss of people. We promise the Albanian people that this problem will be solved as soon as possible", the deputy chairman of the Balli Kombetar Party, Hysen Selfo said right after the meeting.
Selfo expressed his indignation over the nonparticipation the socialists in the meeting.
"The non participation of the Albanian Socialist Party in this meeting shows that they may be the organizers of this situation", said Selfo.
The Republican Chairman, Sabri Godo, expressed his concern over the situation created, as well as his regret over the delay of this meeting.
"I hail the stand of President Berisha who has not allowed so far the use of arms by the police forces. I made some technical proposals for a more rational solution of the problem", said Godo after the meeting.
Godo considered important a meeting with the socialists, blaming this situation on them.
"I suggested President Berisha to call once again on the socialists, because they bear the special responsibility for this situation, as they have declared that they would be those who would lead these protests. On the other hand I would ask the socialists whether they are able to keep these protests under control, as these protests may set the whole of Albania on fire, and whether the socialists would like such a thing?", said Godo.
Even the chairman of the Human Rights Union Party, Vasil Melo, called for self-control.
"The people must show self-control. Every loss is a loss for all. We condemn any manipulation at the expense of the losers", said Melo. /pas/mt/