Sali Berisha served as the second President of Albania from 1992 to 1997, as the country’s Prime Minister from 2005 to 2013, and over the past 30 years, as a member of Albania’s Parliament.
“In his official capacity as Prime Minister of Albania in particular, Berisha was involved in corrupt acts, such as misappropriation of public funds and interfering with public processes, including using his power for his own benefit and to enrich his political allies and his family members at the expense of the Albanian public’s confidence in their government institutions and public officials,” said Secretary Blinken in a written statement.
“Furthermore, his own rhetoric demonstrates he is willing to protect himself, his family members, and his political allies at the expense of independent investigations, anticorruption efforts, and accountability measures.”
The designation for corruption means that Sali Berisha, his wife and two children are ineligible to travel to the United States.
According to the World Bank, corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, to acquire some form of benefit, or abuse power for one's private gain. Indeed, there is strong evidence that more corrupted countries tend to have lower levels of human development.
According to Transparency International, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to expose corruption and to prevent criminal activities arising from it, “corruption is likely to adversely affect long-term economic growth through its impact on investment, taxation, public expenditures and human development.” Indeed, corruption “affects equitable distribution of resources across the population, increasing income inequalities, undermining the effectiveness of social welfare programs and ultimately resulting in lower levels of human development. This, in turn, may undermine long-term sustainable development, economic growth and equality.”
In other words, corruption is a significant obstacle to progress.
“With this designation, I am reaffirming the need for accountability and transparency in Albania’s democratic institutions, government processes, and the actions of Albanian public officials,” said Secretary Blinken.
“This designation reaffirms the U.S. commitment to supporting political reforms key to Albania’s democratic institutions. The United States continues to stand with the people of Albania. The Department will continue to use authorities like this to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.”