Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Saturday, March 23, 2019


Hitesh Patel

A strange arrest announcement this week from Albania; an Indian national, identified by the media, but not by the Government of Albania, as Hitesh Patel, was detained when he attempted to flee the country. Patel, reportedly the brother-in-law of the owners of Sterling Biotech Ltd., who are also  wanted in their native India for allegedly borrowing $725m, and thereafter leaving India. Money laundering is alleged by local media. obviously, Patel, reportedly a resident of Nigeria, is considered by India to be the laundryman.

Now the interesting part; in 2018,  the Sandesara brothers, both owners of Sterling, obtained Albania citizenship, under what appear to be extralegal circumstances. We do not know whether Patel himself received a CBI passport.  The case sounds much like a program for  Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) passports, but Albania does not have such a program; or does it ?

Extradition procedures have been initiated for money laundering offenses. whether Patel is simply considered to be expendable by the Sandesara brothers, the apparent fraudsters, and the holders of those Albania passports, remains to be seen, but there's the unanswered question: is Albania running an off-the-books CBI program for wealthy fugitives ?

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