Albania Court Nominates New Experts in Video Corruption Trial

Meta was charged with corruption in May after a video was broadcast appearing to show him discussing corrupt deals with another former minister, Dritan Prifti.

The three new experts will review the video’s authenticity, which Meta contends had been doctored and his words taken out of context.

An earlier review of the video was conducted by British and American experts called by the prosecution. This review stated that the tape was authentic but the review has since been dismissed by the court as inadmissible proof.

General Prosecutor Ina Rama filed charges against Meta in early May after a four-month investigation was cinducted, following the broadcast of a secretly filmed video in January .

Transcripts from the video appeared to show Meta asking Prifti, the former economy minister, to intervene in a hydropower plant concession tender. Meta also appeared to mention a bribe by a businessman of €700,000.

Meta also appeared to ask Prifti to hire activists of his own party, the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI. The LSI is the junior partner in the government of Prime Minister Sali Berisha. It controls the ministries of economy, foreign affairs and health.

Although it only holds four parliamentary seats, the LSI came out as a kingmaker in the 2009 parliamentary elections, which were narrowly won by Berisha’s right-wing Democratic Party.

Meta is head of the LSI, and at the time of the recording was both deputy prime minister and foreign minister. The tape also appeared to show him boasting about having influenced a Supreme Court trial involving the same hydropower plant.

Ilir Meta denies allegations of corruption.

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