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Opposition requests verification for third Socialist mayor coming from June 30 elections

TIRANA, Sept. 11 – The opposition’s Democratic Party asked the prosecution on Tuesday to verify the new Mayor of Vau Dejes Mark Babani, whom it suspects of hiding his criminal past. 

According to the opposition, he has been detained, sentenced and deported both in Italy and Northern Macedonia. The DP also said it accompanied the verification request to the prosecution by the signature of 500 citizens. 

Meanwhile, Democratic Party Secretary General Gazment Bardhi said he has given the prosecution the information available to the Democratic Party for Babani. 

In its request to the prosecution, the DP states that the mayor of Vau Dejes “was allegedly arrested / detained in Italy during 1994-1999 and subsequently sentenced and deported by the responsible Italian authorities.” 

Also, according to the DP, Babani “has been arrested/detained and subsequently convicted in the Republic of Northern Macedonia during the period 2002-2003.”

The DP also wants the prosecution to investigate the data presented by Babani in the self-declaration form when he ran for mayor of Vau Dejes, as “verification of TIMS data shows that citizen Mark Babani from 1994 – 2005 has not traveled in any single case to Italy using his real identity, which is an indication of the accuracy of the data made public earlier and there are suspicions that this citizen used three different identities, not stated in the Decriminalization Form.” 

On Tuesday, Babani told the Voice Of America that the allegations or, as the DP calls them, suspicions do not refer to him and are unrelated to his name and his life. They, he added, relate to the Democratic Party’s own need to retain its electorate. 

Babani said there is no compromising document that could come up as everything is registered in Europe and there is no possibility of abuse. 

“Never in my life have I, my father, my grandfather, spent 24 hours in prison in any absolute way. I have never been called by the police ever, nor have I ever received a 100 euro fine all my life, all over Europe where I have moved,” Babani said. 

Mark Babani, an immigrant to Italy and later a well-known businessman in the field of fish processing, denounced the Democratic Party’s statement that he has used three different identities and added that he would cooperate with the prosecution. 

“In 1991 I left and worked until 1995 in two different jobs: at a fish factory, where I am a partner and continue this activity to this day, and at a hotel, where I worked in ‘94 and ‘95. In 1995 I obtained my license in Albania for the first time, in ‘96 I made the investment and in ‘97 I left because such was the period. And I have renewed my residence permit once in a year or two, according to the existing regulation, and when I needed to renew my residence permit I was forced to go to Italy,” Babani said. 

Mark Babani is the third socialist mayor, after those of Shkodra and Vora, to emerge from the June 30 elections without the opposition’s participation, suspected by the DP of hiding criminal records of his life. 


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