For weeks, Prime Minister Edi Rama has refused to give explanations in the Parliament of Albania regarding his name being mentioned 14 times in the FBI indictment against Mcgonigal. On the same day he refused to appear in Parliament to answer questions about the issue, the Prime Minister visited a television studio where, when asked by journalists, he gave some answers, some of which are designed as proper thesis. Faktoje proved that the way Prime Minister interpreted the indictment is, in fact, not the same with what is written on black and white by the American FBI.
A few hours following his refusal to fulfil the constitutional obligation to give explanations to voters in the parliament, Prime Minister Rama chose to respond in one of the evening television studios. Asked by journalists about his name being mentioned in the FBI indictment against McGonigal, the prime minister built several theses in his ‘defence’, some of which do not match the facts published by American justice.
Faktoje selected three theses:
Thesis 1 – I received McGonigal and Agron Neza in my office as an FBI official and a friend of his, not as businessmen
In his answers about his first meeting with McGonigal in his office, Prime Minister Rama repeated several times that McGonigal came as an FBI official, while Neza as a friend of his, whom Rama had not met before. In the meeting, the Prime Minister claims they had a friendly conversation in general terms and nothing concrete about one company or another.
Fact : American justice has proven that during this meeting, which McGonigal later hid from the FBI, McGonigal asked Prime Minister Rama to make a decision with major financial consequences. Unlike what the prime minister claims, the conversation was not in general terms at all. The FBI also points out that McGonigal was encouraged by Agron Neza to make this request to Prime Minister Rama. The indictment has also proven that Agron Neza and Dorian Ducka were partners in business and that Ducka was also an adviser to Prime Minister Edi Rama.
All these facts do not correspond with the claim that Neza presented himself simply as a friend of McGonigal and that there was no talk of any concrete things about one company or another.
Thesis 2 – Albania has nothing to do with the charges, McGonigal took a “debt” from Neza, he is not accused of corruption
Another thesis repeated several times by Prime Minister Rama in his television appearances is that the main investigation against McGonigal is the one related to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and that Albania ” has just come up on the way, but has nothing to do with Russians, nor with Chinese, or even the English.” McGonigal is not accused of corruption, but of having broken the rules, as he borrowed money from Agron Neza.
Fact : The investigation involving Albania is different from the investigation of the oligarch Deripaska. Faktoje explained that the charges against McGonigal were filed in two separate indictments, each of which raises different charges. Therefore, Albania did not come up on the way n none of the two investigations, as the prime minister claims.
Also, another fact published by the FBI shows that the case where Prime Minister Rama is mentioned is related to the countries of origin. According to the FBI, Dorian Duçka, advisor to Prime Minister Rama, was employed by a conglomerate of Chinese companies operating in the energy field. This is confirmed by the Chinese media, where Dorian Duçka is presented as an Albanian expert in the field of investments, who promotes the vision of the Chinese economy as the path that should be followed collectively by the economies of the world.
Another discrepancy between the prime minister’s interpretation of the indictment and what is actually written is that McGonigal is accused not only of failing to declare the money received from Neza and violating ethical or disclosure rules. One of the most serious charges against McGonigal is that he worked for a Russian oligarch, tried to remove him from the list of sanctions, offered him services, and laundered Russian money through an American company.
Thesis 3 – The information about the American lobbyist did not come out of the prime minister’s office.
Prime Minister Edi Rama has emphasized several times that his office was informed about DP lobbying in the USA through an article published by BIRN in 2017 and that the Prime Minister had no more information on this issue. Rama emphasized several times that it was not his office that gave information to Neza about the American lobbyist. ” If we had it, we would give it to him.” – said Rama.
Fact : The indictment clearly says that the information about the American lobbyist that Neza gave to McGonigal, had come out the day before from the office of the prime minister of Albania.
The FBI’s accusation regarding this fact is that McGonigal encouraged the FBI to start an investigation, including Agron Neza as a witness, without notifying the FBI that the information about the investigation had been given to him by Neza himself, or that this person was a friend of his, who had given him $225,000. The FBI also found that Dorian Duçka, Prime Minister Rama’s adviser, had paid for the travel and expenses of the witnesses in the Nik Muzin case.
These and other theses, built to show his version of the events, are what Prime Minister Rama told reporters in various television studios. Faktoje is still waiting for the implementation of the constitutional law and the development of the parliamentary questions and answers session, as the legal instrument the state can use to hold ministers and the prime minister accountable.