The new massive data leak of secretive businesses and financial dealings contains three terabytes of documents, nearly 12 million files from 14 service providers – bankers, lawyers, accountants, and registration agents. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shared the files with more than 600 journalists around the world, including Balkan Investigative Reporting Network BIRN.Some 400 public officials including 35 current and former national leaders from nearly 100 countries appear in the leaks dubbed “Pandora Papers”. BIRN journalist, Gjergj Erebara, reveals that Bosnian engineering giant Energoinvest, which built the electricity interconnection line between Albaniaand Kosovo, paid more than 3.6 million euros to a small UAE-based consultancy headed by Vasil Kallupi, an Albanian businessman with political connections.
“The project, ten years in the making and of significant strategic importance to both Albania and Kosovo, lays the foundations for Kosovo’s energy independence from its former ruler Serbia and for the creation of a new energy block in the region,” states the BIRN report.
“Energoinvest” won the tender of 29 million euros for the construction of the interconnection line Albania-Kosovo. The project was financed through a loan from the German state-owned development bank KfW. The tendering procedures for the Albanian section of the power line were launched in 2011.
According to Politiko, part of the secret list of the published Pandora Papers is an Albanian company involved in hiding real estate, and an Albanian politician, whose identity is still unknown.
BIRN journalist said to Euronews Albania that the tender of the Transmission System Operator for the construction of the Albanian segment of the interconnection kicked off in 2011. Out of 29 million euros, the winning company has paid 3.5 million euros to “an unknown Albanian company” registered in the United Arab Emirates, in the period 2013-2019.
According to Erebara, there are suspicions of a corrupt scheme and the money may have been taken by a person who had an impact on determining the winner of the tender.
“It is not known why this was done. The company does not speak, does not explain what consultancy it has provided. “Usually these are bribery schemes,” the BIRN journalist said.
Gjergj Erebara shows that the payments for the unknown Albanian firm were made in the period 2013-2019, which included the “Berisha” government and the “Rama” government.
” Many payments were made, the largest was 1.5 million euros, then there were 27 payments made in Liechtenstein. “The biggest transfer was made on April 26, 2013″, he said.
BIRN journalist contends that the documents have uncovered some secrets, yet it is hard to determine the money’s final destination.