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STATEMENT: Francesco Becchetti

20 July 2016

The Government of Albania has abandoned its efforts to  have Leyton Orient FC president, Francesco Becchetti, extradited. 

The decision announced at Westminster Magistrates Court today (July 20, 2016) formally ends more than a year of strong pressure for Mr Becchetti.

Earlier this month a hearing in Westminster Magistrates Court found that document submitted by the Albanian Government in support of its extradition case was “totally misleading”.

The document made a number of false statements about Albanian law, including that the extradition request could not be withdrawn, and even that the Minister would face “sanctions” in Albania if he withdrew the request. 

The judge, District Judge Nina Tempia, found these claims to be untrue. She found that there had been an attempted “manipulation and usurpation” of  the court’s process by the Albanian Government and ruled that the proceedings against Mr Becchetti be stayed.

The Albanian Government initially stated it would appeal the decision to stay proceedings. However, it announced today no appeal would be lodged.

Speaking after the Albanian Government’s decision was announced in court, Mr Becchetti said: “Finally after more than a year, and after a lengthy legal fight against the unwarranted persecution of myself and my employees, we have the first just decision made by the Albanian Government.  Not to appeal the court’s  decision and to end this politically motivated action, was the minimum we expected. There should now be immediate end to all other proceedings against me in Albania that remain unresolved.”

Julian Knowles QC, who represented Mr Becchetti, said the document’s contents meant that, “Albania had sought to lie to this court.”
 

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