Private Banks profited millions illegally, secret report finds

10/08/2016 00:00

Shocking details have emerged from a State High Control report on how private banks and the Central Bank of Albania have issued from circulations damaged banknotes in the period between 2010 and 2014. Investigations started first after the reported robbery in July 2014, but findings were even worse.

Conclusions are listed in a secret report, read from Top Channel thanks to confidential sources. It shows that all the scheme have been functioning illegally, practically robbing citizens and state budged out of hundreds of millions of lekë.

Until September 2013 based on an approved legal base, private banks would gather damaged banknotes refunding 80% of the value, and then hand them over to the Central Bank with the same ratio of refunding. But the report found that this rule has been broken as the Central Bank has bought the banknotes paying 100% of their value. According to the State High Control body, this difference of 20% is neat profit missing from the state budged and ending in the accounts of a handful of private banks. The agency discovered that during the January 2010-July 2014 period, 2.71 billion lekë have been changed through this scheme generating an unfair profit of 542 million lekë, or 4 million euros.

Considered one of the most shocking audits of latest years, the report has been delivered to the Supervisory Council of the Bank of Albania. Top Channel learned BoA has fiercely opposed findings presented there. But beside a clash between the two, this document is expected to have consequences even between higher state institutions, for the way the financial system works and it is governed, because the agency is obliged by law to inform Parliament about it.

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