Former Director of the American Chamber, Mark Crowford, one of the voices that was used most strongly by Sali Berisha and his followers, in exposing what, according to the former leader of the Democratic Party, is a deep corruption affair between Prime Minister Edi Rama and the senior official of FBI, Charles McGonigal on oil fields, is discussed today.
Mark Crowford was used by the “non women” opposition saying that oil has been taken away from the Americans to go into the hands of the Russians.
But the facts show that the Gorisht-Kocul, Cakran-Mollaj and Ballsh Hekal springs were given a concession by Sali Berisha and were nationalized by the government of Edi Rama. Which means that these blocks of oil resources are owned by the state and have not been administered by any private company for a single day.
The company Stream Oil and Gas, registered in the Cayman Islands, belonging to the former cohabitant of Albana Vokshi and close to the Berisha family, received from the latter in 2007 the Gorisht-Kocul, Cakran-Mollaj, Ballsh-Hekal and Delvinë oil fields. Thanks to the favoritism of the Berisha government, from 2007 to 2013 they created 27 million USD of debts to the state. With the change of government, at the end of 2014, with the intervention of Mark Crawford, this company was sold to the American businessman Mitchell Malone, who owns the company TransAtlantic Petroleum.
Very soon, the businessman would find out that he had been cheated by the Albanian sellers and the broker Crawford, in addition to 27 million USD to the state, had hidden another 40 million USD of obligations that Stream Oil, which has now returned to TransAtlantic Albania, had to other private suppliers.
Contrary to what Crawford says, the government did not expel the billionaire to give the oil blocks to the Russians, but he was the one who convinced the American businessman to sell the company to a group of Albanian businessmen led by Naim Kasa after realizing the fraud. This individual had received from the Berisha government 9 more oil fields in the last months of the government, even though he was publicly accused of theft, forgery and fraud, for which he was arrested in 2020.
Albpetrol followed the entire legal procedure, giving the company a deadline to repay its obligations to the state. In the conditions of non-payment, in January 2017 the resources were nationalized, returning them to the Albanian state. GBC Oil of Mark Crawford, Naim Kasë and Krezhnik Grezda, registered in the Cayman Islands initiated an arbitration process against the Albanian state. They demanded 113, mln USD in compensation and
lost profit from breaking the deal. Contrary to what Crawford says, the arbitration was won by the Albanian government considering the decisions on the nationalization of the resources to be fair and legal. Their claim for damages was dismissed.
Crawford’s next lie is the statement that after the 2018 visit to the United States of America, Minister Gjiknuri gave the oil blocks to the Russians.
The Cakran-Mollaj, Gorisht-Kocul and Amonica oil blocks, since January 2017 when they were taken over by those who had mismanaged them, including Mark Craëford and Sali Berisha, continue to be owned by the Albanian state and have not spent a single day in the hands of private.