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Albanian authorities arrest central bank governor

September 5, 2014

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian central bank governor Ardian Fullani and a senior bank auditor were arrested Friday and charged with abuse of office, for alleged mismanagement in connection with a multi-million dollar theft from the bank’s reserves, prosecutors said.

Albi Serani, spokesman for the Prosecutor-General’s office, said the Bank of Albania chief was taken into police custody following a court order late Friday. Serani said the arrest is linked to the alleged theft of 713 million leks (5 million euros; $6.6 million) from a reserve storage building that was discovered in July.

The money was allegedly stolen over the past four years, and Albanian authorities have already arrested 16 central bank employees in the case.

A statement from the Prosecutor General’s office said that Bank of Albania Inspector General Elivar Golemi was also arrested Friday and faces the same charges.

It said the two senior officials “due to their non-action, have created the conditions” for security violations, and Fullani allegedly failed to competently execute his responsibilities. Prosecutors are still trying to determine what happened to the stolen cash. One of the 16 employees previously arrested allegedly told authorities he spent his portion on casinos and betting.

Fullani, 59, was appointed governor in 2004, and is serving his second seven-year term.

If the charges are proved, the officials face a maximum 7-year prison sentence.

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