The Sandesara family, on the run from over $700 million in fraud and money laundering charges in their homeland, have been protected by Albania…
he Albanian Connection
It didn’t take long for the Sandesaras to find friends outside India.
Despite the family’s wanted status, they were swiftly granted Albanian citizenship and received their new passports in February 2018.
Then in January 2019, Albania appointed Nitin Sandesara as an honorary consul to Nigeria. (He was reported to have lost this title three months later, around the time of Patel’s detention.)
Albania’s Ministry of Tourism and Environment, led by Blendi Klosi, referenced the Sandesaras’ investments when nominating them for citizenship, citing their “commitment to the realization of important elite investments in our country.” Along with a local partner, the controversial businessman Juljan “Lul” Morina, the Sandesaras are estimated to have committed over $33 million to construction projects in Albania, including a tourist resort on the country’s most coveted coastline.
Four Albanian state institutions, including the tourism ministry, refused to respond to OCCRP’s questions about why the Sandesaras were cleared to become citizens, saying the information was confidential. The president’s office said that the files “contain personal documents and classified documents, information that cannot be made available,” without offering further explanation.