Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Albania

Albania pledged to increase its contribution of troops to Afghanistan, froze bank accounts related to money laundering and terrorist financing, and aggressively worked with the United States and other countries to combat terrorism. Albania made progress in identifying vulnerabilities at land and sea borders, but the government and police forces continued to face challenges to enforce border security fully and combat organized crime and corruption.On January 14, the criminal trial began against Hamzeh Abu Rayyan, the suspected administrator for UNSCR 1267 Committee-designated terrorist financier Yassin Al-Kadi, who is charged with hiding funds used to finance terrorism. This marked the first ever criminal terrorist finance-related trial in Albania; the trial was ongoing at year's end. A civil suit filed by al-Kadi to release his assets from seizure was dismissed, was then refiled in July, and again was dismissed by the court in September. Al-Kadi's company, Loxhall, also filed a lawsuit in April, aimed at annulling the Council of Ministers' decision as well as the two orders of the Ministry of Finance related to the administration of seized terrorism assets.

Although no new groups' assets were frozen this year under Albania's Terrorism Financing Freeze law, as of October, the Ministry of Finance claimed that it maintained asset freezes against six individuals and 14 foundations and companies on the UNSCR 1267 list. Despite this progress, the effectiveness of the government's counterterrorist financing effort was undermined by a lack of data-processing infrastructure and an inadequate capability to track and manage cases properly.


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