Albanian ex-PM acquitted of corruption charges

AP News
Posted: Jan 16, 2012 10:09 AM
Albanian ex-PM acquitted of corruption charges

A court official says Albania's Supreme Court has acquitted a former prime minister of corruption charges regarding a state hydropower station tender.

The court ruled Monday that charges against Ilir Meta could not be proven, spokeswoman Ida Vodica said.

Meta, prime minister from 1999 to 2002, heads the small Socialist Movement for Integration Party that is part of Albania's governing coalition.

Prosecutors had asked for a two-year prison term for Meta, alleging that he tried to improperly influence former Economy Minister Dritan Prifti over the tender. Meta, who was deputy prime minister and foreign minister at the time, denied any wrongdoing.

Meta resigned over the allegations last year, sparking a political crisis which culminated in an anti-government protest that left four people dead.