Indian brothers wanted for defrauding $725 mln, were building apartments in Tirana as Albanian citizens

20/03/2019 21:09

A court order in New Delhi for the extradition of two Indian citizens, Nitin Sandesara and Chetankumar Sandesara, is the iceberg tip of a huge financial scandal that includes Albania as well.

The two Sandesara brothers, who are accused for defrauding 725 million USD, are currently constructing apartment buildings in Albania as Albanian citizens.

The Sandesara brothers were owners of the pharmaceutical company “Sterling Biotech”. From 2008 to 2011 they have loaned more than 725 million USD from Indian state banks, money that have disappeared through a network of 300 offshore companies built by them.

The scandal blew off last January, when the Indian Economic Crime Agency arrested Andra Bank, the Director of the biggest bank which had loaned the money to the Sandesara Brothers. On the same time, the Indian authorities blocked the properties of the Sterling Biotech company, which filed for bankruptcy. But the two brothers fled India.

The Indian authorities believed that the brothers had escaped to Nigeria, but they had arrived to Albania instead, and despite being wanted all over the world, they received Albanian citizenship, a process that requires a vetting from the Secret Service and other public order authorities.

Just one month earlier, Nitin Sandesara was received officially by Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Haradinaj.

After arriving to Albania in 2017, the Indian brothers opened two construction companies, near Tirana’s Artificial Lake, where they are constructing an apartment building in cooperation with an Albanian company.

Construction has been seen by the US State Department as the riskiest sector for money laundering in Albania. It was also a topic of political debate, with the opposition accusing that the construction boom was happening in a time when loans were stagnating.


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