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14 Jan 11

Albania Judge Denies Pressure From Scandal-Hit Meta

The head of Albania’s Supreme Court, Shpresa Becaj, has denied that any court decisions were influenced by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Meta, who resigned today amid a corruption scandal.

Besar Likmeta

In a video published on Wednesday by broadcaster Top-Channel, which has not been yet authenticated, Meta is overheard saying that because he is on good terms with Chief Justice Shpresa Becaj - after having hired her daughter as a diplomat - he can influence the ruling of the court.

“I distance myself as chief justice of the Supreme Court from this issue,” Becaj said in a press conference on Friday. She said that she does not have the capacity to influence the court’s decisions, which are collegial, and added that her daughter had been hired because she deserved the post, and not as a favour.

However, in a television interview on Thursday on Klan TV, Meta said that had hired Becaj’s daughter at the request of the chief justice. The outgoing deputy PM. who was foreign minister at the time the videotape was recorded, said that Becaj’s daughter fulfilled the requirement for the position, and that his heart was touched because she was suffering from health problems.

Meta resigned from his post on Friday amid the controversy.

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