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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ORGANISED
CRIME
Risk Assessment in Albania
Fabian Zhilla
besFort lamallari
FINANCIAL
SUPPORTER 

ORDERER
MIDDLEMAN
COORDINATOR
RECEIVER
SUPPORTERS/
PACKAGERS 

DEALERS
PROVIDER
WHOLESALER/
MANUFACTURER

MONEY COURIERS 
RESPONSIBLE FOR 
TRANSPORTATION
COURIERS 
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  1  


Acknowledgements 
This study was made possible by the fruitful cooperation of civil society organisations and experts that are engaged in 
the fight against organised crime. It would not have been possible without the participation of our interviewees, along 
with the participants of the focused groups, whom we are unable to mention by name as we wish to maintain their 
anonymity due to the sensitive nature of both their involvement and our work.  Therefore, the very first words of 
gratitude go to them.
Furthermore, this study could not have been conducted without the support of the Open Society Foundation 
Albania  (OSFA)  and  especially  the  Executive  Director  of  the  Foundation,  Mr  Andi  Dobrushi,  who  was  and 
remains one of the main supporters of the idea and the importance of this study for society.
Special thanks go to those institutions that enabled contact with the officials we were able to interview: Mrs Elona 
Gjebrea, (Vice Minister of the Ministry of Interior); Mr Artan Didi (Director General, Directorate General of the 
Albanian State Police); Mr Sandër Simoni (President, Serious Crime Court, First Instance); Mr Shkëlqim Hajdari 
(Chair, Prosecutors’ Association); Mr Ervin Metalla (Chair, Judges’ Union); and Mr Saimir Visha (Chair, Association 
of Criminal Lawyers).
This study would have been incomplete were it not for the contribution of the investigative journalists whose details 
may not be found in official documents. The authors would like to thank the staff of the OSFA, in particular the project 
coordinator, Ms Brunilda Bakshevani, for their help with the implementation of the project. 
The authors wish to thank Ms Orjada Tare for having organised the meetings of the Focused Groups in Tirana, Korça, 
Shkodra and Vlora. This publication would not have reached the expected standard without the technical assistance 
of and graphs prepared by Mr Henrik Lezi.  The authors would also like to thank the editors – Mr Besnik Bakiu 
and Ms Nita Shala – for their invaluable comments and constructive approach during the final stage of the draft. 
Special thanks also go to the Canadian Institute of Technology (CIT) for the technical contribution they gave to this 
study, and, in particular, to the CIT students that helped collect documents in various court houses throughout the 
country. 
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  3  

1.  ExEcutivE summAry
“The Albanian mafia is one of the main international actors. It does not operate solely within Albania, it is mostly active out of the 
country, even though money is laundered and invested often in Albania [...] The Albanian mafia is very active at the international 
level [...] it has such an ability to connect with the Albanian diaspora throughout the world [...]. If Albania wants to become part of 
the European Union, it will have to address these concerns (fight against organized crime and corruption) because the European 
Union will not allow Albania to become part of it with so many problems.”

- Drew Sullivan 19/05/2014, Director of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Organization (OCCRP)1
This  study  focuses  on  the  organised  crime  activities  in  Albania,  as  well  as  those  conducted  by  Albanian 
criminal networks in the region and beyond. The study analyses organised crime activities such as trafficking 
in  persons,  illicit  drugs  and  arms,  smuggling  of  migrants,  extortion,  contract  killings,  organised  cyber-
crime and money laundering. In some cases, so as to be able to clearly identify them, comparisons were 
made  between  various  criminal  activities  and  groups,  despite  the  difficulties  encountered  with  resources 
and the method applied. Various sources are used (both primary and secondary), including national official 
reports, and European and international agencies fighting organised crime. In addition, 44 interviews were 
conducted  with  experts  that  have  a  direct  or  indirect  relation  with  the  fight  against  organised  crime,  for 
instance,  serious  crime  judges,  prosecutors,  lawyers,  investigative  journalists,  civil  society  representatives 
and experts of organised cyber-crime. The total duration of recorded interviews is 24 hours and 12 minutes.
TAblE Of InTERvIEwEES 
Prosecutors                                                      12
Judges                                                                                    9
Lawyers                                                             7
Investigative Journalists                                                        6
Police experts                                                   8
Cyber-crime experts                                                               2
Moreover,  four  focused  groups  were  organised  with  civil  society  representatives,  students  of  social  sciences, 
journalism and law in Tirana, Korça, Vlora and Shkodra. Another focused group with experts in the fight against 
organised crime was organised earlier in Tirana. The authors have examined 84 decisions of the First Instance 
Court of Serious Crimes. The decisions were selected based on the nature of illegal activities of interest to the study, 
the frequency of criminal episodes, the number of defendants and the scope of threat posed by these activities and 
their perpetrators. The court decisions are issued in the period 2006-2014 for illegal activities of drug trafficking 
(42%), trafficking in arms (18%), human trafficking (17%), smuggling of migrants (9%), extortion (8 %) and cases 
tried for creation of and participation in a criminal organisation (6%). Overall, the examined judicial decisions 
reach a volume of 3,793 pages.
1.   “Shqip” on Top Channel (19/05/2014) http://www.top-channel.tv/artikull.php?id=278271
4  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :  

DISTRIBUTION OF EXAMINED JUDICIAL DECISIONS
ACCORDING TO NATURE OF ACTIVITIES (2006-2014)
TRAFFICKING OF
18 ARMS AND MUNITION 
CRIMINAL
TRAFFICKING OF 
ORGANISATION
HUMAN BEINGS 17
%
%
6%
SMUGGLING
8
9%
%
OF MIGRANTS
EXTORTION
42%
DRUG TRAFFICKING
Our findings and the opinions of the interviewees suggest that the elements that have stimulated organised 
crime in the country are of a social, economic and political nature:
●  Transition from a totalitarian regime with a stringent policy on crime, to a fragile democracy with 
weak and unconsolidated institutions, and staff without sufficient education and/or experience; 
●  Chaotic situation post-1997 with the collapse of the pyramid schemes;
●  Institutions that are subject to reform, with staff turnover due to changes in government; 
●  Lack of institutional independence, and endemic corruption in the police and law-enforcement 
agencies;
●  Albania’s favourable geographical position – with drug-producing and supplier countries such as 
Afghanistan and Turkey in the East, and high-consumption countries in the West;
●  International nature of organised crime and the impact of globalisation; 
●  Lack of political stability in the country for more than two decades; 
●  Weak economy with high levels of unemployment and insufficient earnings per capita (one of the 
lowest in the continent);
●  Dismantling of social structures, adversely affecting the family as the nucleus;
●  Continuous immigration waves, importing experiences and criminal connections obtained abroad;
●  Support from members of the Albanian diaspora;
●  Conflicts in the region, with ‘golden opportunities’ to obtain money from the trafficking of arms, 
smuggling activities, etc;
●  Use of technology and advanced communication tools.
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  5  

“We, as society, have lost the ability to denounce. Self-censorship is graver than any threats or 
intimidation. Nowadays, there is no need for gangs or criminals to exert pressure upon you...you know 
the consequences and don’t take the risks. Everyone says, yes we know, here everything is known but no 
one speaks up. On the contrary, we are at a phase that consider this as proficiency...yes, ‘he is skilful’ 
so, this is the attitude.” (Investigative Journalist)

Interviewees/experts have stated that the fight against organised crime is weak on the part of law enforcement 
agencies, and the Albanian society is reluctant to report organised-crime activities. This is due to the following:
sociEty rEluctAnt to rEport cAsEs 
●  Lack of trust in institutions; 
●  Fear of repercussion/s (the most referred to among interviewees, although it was ranked second in 
importance);
●  Corruption;
●  “Leak of secrets”;
●  Lack of effective witness protection;
●  Lack of a crime-reporting culture;
●  Direct link to individuals involved in organised crime (i.e. friends and family, relations/cousins). This was 
the least-mentioned reason.
“What I have noticed since 2011, 2012, 2013, but specially during late 2012 and 2013 is that here is done 
little to investigate in order to find  organised crime group or a criminal. For them it is enough to arrest 
some people near the borders, who for me are simply couriers...they are exploited by traffickers and 
the heart remains intact, Organized Crime is not fought.”  

 
 
 
 
(Judge at the First Instance Court for Serious Crimes)
WEAknEssEs in thE fight AgAinst orgAnisEd crimE:
●  Unconsolidated institutions and lack of institutional independence;
●  Continuous changes of qualified staff with every change of government;
●  Weak cooperation and lack of coordination among various agencies;
●  Problems with professional capability;
●  Problems relating to low remuneration and weak logistics;
●  Lack of will, incrimination and corruption of individuals inside law enforcement agencies 
6  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :  

rEcommEndAtions for A morE EfficiEnt fight AgAinst orgAnisEd crimE 
●  Undertake a comprehensive reform – not a partial one – of the institutions that have a direct 
bearing on the fight against organised crime, including the Judicial Police Service; 
●  Enhance cooperation among various institutions: State Police, State Intelligence Service, the 
General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering, and DGs Customs and Tax;
●  Enhance professional capability through training sessions, guaranteeing stability of employment 
for specialists/experts, selecting individuals free of any conflict of interest and on the basis of their 
own merits, as well as on their moral and social integrity;
●  Fight corruption in all segments of the justice system (Prosecution, the courts) and the Police; 
●  Provide financial support and preferential legal status to bodies fighting organised crime; 
●  Increase the number of confiscations of illicit assets seized. 
●  Establish an Investigation Directorate that would be responsible for the quality, depth and 
procedural side of investigations, which the experts themselves believe are weak; 
●  Limit abbreviated trial procedures/adjudications for some serious criminal offences; 
●  Revise and develop curricula on the fight against organised crime in universities so that the study 
of this phenomenon is not simply the prerogative of the Faculty of Law but is included in the 
studies of social sciences, economics and IT;
●  Improve those parts of the curricula of the School of Magistrates, Police Academy and Military 
Academy  that cover the fight against organised crime;
●  Recruit to the law-enforcement agencies the most capable experts in the areas of criminology, law, 
psychology, statistics, IT and forensic science, etc. 
●  Increase public awareness about the risks of organised crime and the role and responsibility of 
each individual in the fight against this phenomenon;
2. thE typology of AlbAniAn orgAnisEd crimE
Between 1990 and 1997 Albania witnessed the emergence of hierarchical criminal structures such as armed 
bands, criminal organisations and structured criminal groups.  At first, the armed bands appeared in various 
parts of the country, bands that were involved in human trafficking, the smuggling of migrants (accentuated 
by the self-imposed isolation of the country in the previous decades), kidnappings, extortion, and continuous 
rivalry due to the control of groups over particular territories.  
Between 1998 and 2004, the scope of their activities expanded, along with the way these groups were organised.  
As time went by, the trafficking of Albanian women for the purposes of prostitution decreased, and Albania 
transformed itself from a country of origin to a transit country for women solicited in various countries 
of Eastern Europe.  Meanwhile, the trafficking of drugs and weapons flourished and became the number 
one  profitable  activity  for  these  criminal  organisations.    In  2004-2005,  a  period  which  coincided  with  the 
end of the second stage of the evaluation and adaption of Albanian criminal groups, new forms of criminal 
organisations appeared. Certain criminal groups within and outside Albania start interacting in an active and 
constant manner in this network of criminals while maintaining the autonomy of the group.   
From 2005 onwards, the criminal network was seen as the most widespread and suitable form for criminal 
groups  to  undertake  various  criminal  activities,  including  the  trafficking  of  various  types  of  drugs,  the 
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  7  

smuggling  of  migrants  and  organised  cyber-
crime.  However,  illegal  activities  such  as  the 
TRAFFICKING 
trafficking of human beings and extortion do not 
HOT SPOTS
seem to be carried out as a criminal network. 
MALËSI E
MADHE
geographical distribution
TROPOJË
●  Experts admit that organised crime 
SHKODËR
KUKËS
extends throughout the territory of the 
country, thus having a direct or indirect 
impact on Albanian society. 
●  Certain regional characteristics are 
KURBIN
DIBËR
noted, with a clear concentration in 
BURREL
border areas. 
KRUJË
●  The most developed areas, such as 
DURRËS
TIRANË
Tirana, Durrës and Fier have a higher 
rate of criminal activity and a higher 
ELBASAN
concentration of perpetrators due 
to the concentration of capital and 
demographic movements (drugs, light 
FIER
weapons and explosives, prostitution 
BERAT
KORÇË
MALLAKASTËR
running rings, internal trafficking, 
extortion, etc.). The regional distribution 
of each activity: arms trafficking in 
VLORË
TEPELENË
Shkodër, Kukës and Burrel (Fushë Kruja 
GJIROKASTËR
for explosives) due to their proximity 
DELVINË
to Montenegro and Kosovo. Drug 
trafficking in Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan, 
SARANDË
Vlorë, Korçë, and Fier (fiscal evasion, 
organised stealing of oil). Smuggling of 
HEROINE         COCAINE       ECSTASY        CANNABIS 
migrants in Gjirokastër and southern 
SMUGGLING OF MIGRANTS       ARMS TRAFFICKING        TRAFFICKING OF HUMAN BEINGS  
areas close to Greece, such as Korçë, 
ILLEGAL TRADE OF EXPLOSIVES        CONTRACT KILLER
Pogradec and Konispol
3. thE risk AssEssmEnt: orgAnisEd crimE in AlbAniA 
Albanian criminal groups active in the territory of the Republic of Albania are generally made up of 3-4 members 
and include, mostly, the trafficking of narcotics, mainly cannabis. They also traffic other kinds of drugs such as 
cocaine and heroin to neighbouring countries, with EU countries being the final destination.  Sporadic groups are 
involved in arms trafficking across the borders with Montenegro and Kosovo.  Extortion cases are of concern as they 
are not reported. Neither is the use of explosives, murders by paid assassins or murders for which the perpetrator 
is not found, with the aim of eliminating rivals, rebalancing the market, and control of territory. There has been an 
increase in conflicts between businesses which in itself has brought about the proliferation of assassinations, i.e. 
murders for which paid assassins are used.  In addition, the number of murders using remote-controlled devices 
8  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :  

and ordinary explosives are on the rise.  The majority of these murders are believed to take place over territory 
and competition. Extortion of businessmen is considered a real concern. Sources confirm that these cases are 
never reported to the Police or Prosecution Service due to the lack of trust in the justice system and the potential 
of  repercussions/consequences.    Furthermore,  it  is  believed  that  organised  crime  invests  in  corrupting  police 
officers and prosecutors. It is notable that the majority of cases that end up in court in the past few years have either 
been committed by single individuals, or as mere cooperation.  This is a clear indicator of the low number/level 
of investigations.  The increase in the number of extortion cases (and the fact that most businesses pay up) along 
with other powerful criminal organisations and assassins has brought about their sophistication. Experts warn 
that harsh confrontations over control of territory and businesses may be allowed to return. In certain cases, this 
has already been seen in the form of violent public clashes on the part of criminal organised crime, in particular 
in Tirana. In this context, we note efforts to rebalance markets and rivalry in the criminal world.   Cooperation 
with criminal groups in neighbouring countries, in particular Albanian groups in the EU, has strengthened them 
financially and made them more dangerous. The work of law-enforcement agencies is made increasingly difficult 
due to the application of the so-called ‘code of silence’, and the use of psychological rather than physical violence, 
or ‘partnership with the victims’.  Albanian organised crime groups invest in illicit revenue in various areas of the 
legal economy, construction, tourism, processing plants and concessions.   The large amount of construction work 
happening is due to the injection of considerable funds (illicit earnings) in the economy of the country.  Albania 
offers a favourable terrain for Albanian-speaking criminal rings to move to Albania from abroad.   
Furthermore, there is a risk of members of organised criminal rings taking revenge on prosecutors, judges and 
police officers, who had ensured that the criminals got 25 years’ imprisonment, but the sentences were later 
reduced by a third due to summary trial (Article 403-406 of the Albanian Criminal Procedure Court) – some of 
these criminals are expected to get out as early as 2017.   
DRUG TRAFFICKING
A TYPICAL SCHEME
1
2
8
DRUG COURIERS
FINANCIAL
SUPPORTER 

11
ORDERER
RESPONSIBLE FOR 
TRANSPORTATION 
3
OF DRUGS
7
4
DRUG DEALER
10
COURIER OF THE
MONEY 'MULE'
6
9
MIDDLEMAN
5
RESPONSIBLE FOR 
DRUG DISTRIBUTION/
DEALERS
DRUG PROVIDER
SUPPORTERS/PACKAGERS
DRUG RECEIVER 
COORDINATOR
DRUG MANUFACTURER/
WHOLESALER
DEAL
PROVISION OF DRUGS (MANUFACTURERS/WHOLESALERS)
TRANSPORT OF DRUGS
DISTRIBUTION/RETAIL SALES
Figure 1
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  9  

3.1 risk assessment for each organised criminal activity
3.1.1 Powerful drugs (heroin and cocaine)
The way heroin and cocaine are trafficked in Albania is very similar.  It is done by sea, road or air, primarily 
through conventional means of transport. There are at least three types of groups involved in trafficking hard 
drugs. The first group includes those that were involved from the outset in the trafficking of human beings and, as 
such, already have contacts with organised crime in the EU. The second group is made up of Albanian criminals 
recruited by organised crime in Eastern Europe (some of whom they got to know during their spell/s in prison), 
who subsequently made contacts locally or regionally through ‘The Balkan Route’.  The third group is made up 
of local groups led primarily by Albanians who have been involved in crime and have established contacts there. 
Organised crime groups dealing with the trafficking of hard drugs are more sophisticated and are thought to have 
established strong links with individuals within law enforcement agencies, the political elite and the judiciary.
3.1.2 Cannabis and synthetic drugs 
Cannabis is primarily trafficked to Greece via the green border or by hiding it in trucks going through the Kapshtica 
or Kakavija Border Crossing points. Amounts of cannabis are also hidden in private vehicles or international 
transport lorries and trafficked to Italy either via ferry boat or the road system through Montenegro. There is 
an increasing trend of trafficking cannabis through Montenegro and Kosovo to Central and Western European 
countries. Other types of drugs are also produced and trafficked, such as marijuana, hashish oil, ‘chocolate’ and 
‘skunk’, which is a hybrid between Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.  These are used for sale but also in 
exchange for strong drugs.  Although official statistics on the number of cannabis users are lacking in Albania, the 
number is believed to be high. The use of this drug is considered to be the first step towards the use of stronger 
drugs. Albania has reported the presence of synthetic drugs, although not in considerable amounts. Despite the 
lack of an internal market, amounts of amphetamine and ecstasy have been brought into the country from Serbia 
and Bulgaria.  According to some reports, 15-18-year-olds have experimented with ecstasy secured in Tirana (see 
Map 1).
EUROPE
HEROINE
HASHISH OIL
CANNABIS
FROM THE NETHERLANDS
COCAINE
ARMS AND MUNITION
TRAFFICKING OF HUMAN BEINGS
MONTENEGRO
KOSOVO
ITALY
TURKEY
ALBANIA
GREECE
FROM SPAIN
TRAFFICKING
ROUTES
FROM MOROCCO 
Harta 1
10  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :  

3.1.3 Trafficking of human beings 
TAblE Of TRAffICkIng In PERSOnS (2005-2014)
At the end of the 1990s, Albania was considered a ‘hot 
Nr. of 
Nr. of criminal 
Nr. of 
spot’  for  the  trafficking  of  human  beings.    Although 
Year
victims 
(VoT)
proceedings
convictions 
there are no accurate figures as to the exact number of 
2005
274
51
54
Albanian victims trafficked abroad, it is reported that 
2006
227
62
57
many  women  and  children  were  trafficked  to  Italy, 
2007
20
49
7
Greece  and  other  EU  Member  States.  In  addition, 
2008
108
22
26
the country was used as a transit location for females 
2009
94
31
11
2010
97
29
11
of other nationalities who were sold, exchanged and 
2011
84
27
5
trafficked by sea to Italy. The present situation with 
2012
92
11
2
trafficking is different. Albania is no longer a transit 
2013
95
24
2
country  but  remains  a  country  of  origin,  albeit  not 
2014
60
7
10
at the levels of the past. When compared to the total 
Total
1151
313
185
population  numbers  in  the  country,  the  number  of 
Source: Trafficking in Persons Report (2005-2014), 
US. Department of State
victims exploited within the country is a cause for 
gRAPh Of ThE TREnDS In ThE nUmbER Of TRAffICkIng 
concern.  Females  from  various  parts  of  the  country 
vICTImS In AlbAnIA In ThE lAST TEn yEARS
are  exploited  sexually  in  premises  such  as  villas, 
apartments, hotels, motels, etc. There are also reports 
2005
of exploitation for prostitution of young girls known as 
2006
2007

‘luxury prostitutes’. 
2008
The sexual exploitation and forced labour of women and 
2009
minors rises during the summer season in coastal areas. 
2010
The situation of street children who are exploited for 
2011
begging purposes, and are considered potential victims 
2012
2013

of trafficking, is of great concern.
2014
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
3.1.4 Smuggling of migrants
The preferred destinations of clandestine migrants from Albania at present are the United Kingdom (UK) and the 
United States (US).  Unfortunately, there has been loss of life in the past year during migrants’ attempts to reach 
the UK.  Albania is being used by international smuggling networks as a transit country for nationals from Syria, 
Sudan, Congo and other countries.  Entry into the territory of Albania is done mainly through the southern border 
of the country but also through Rinas International Airport.  In some cases, this illicit activity has been facilitated 
by corrupt officials at border crossing points. 
3.1.5 Trafficking of weapons
At present, the trafficking of weapons from, through and into Albania is rendered by criminal groups of 4 to 
6  members  each.    Albania  is  a  country  of  origin  for  Kalashnikovs,  munitions  and  explosives.  Machine  guns, 
Kalashnikovs, composite parts and munitions go to Montenegro, Kosovo and Italy. They also reach Austria, Germany 
and Nordic countries, etc. through the various bus routes between Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. Weapons and 
parts of weapons are concealed in private vehicles on board ferries to Italy.  Kalashnikovs and handguns (pistols) 
which pass in transit through Albania are trafficked to Greece through the green border and border crossing 
points.  Arms traffickers use haulage/transport companies for their own purposes by bribing and/or coercing the 
drivers. Handguns (pistols) and semi-automatic guns are trafficked into the country from Montenegro and Kosovo. 
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  11  

The postal service is used for the 
trafficking  of  weapons  and  their 
WEAPONS
TRAFFICKING
parts  from  far-off  lands.  The 
regions  that  are  most  affected  by 
LEGAL SUPPLY
DEVIATION/TRAFFICKING
ILLEGAL MARKET
trafficking  and  the  illicit  trade  of 
(BLACK MARKET)
weapons are border areas such as 
SUPPLIER/STATE
ORGANISED CRIME
Shkodra, Kukës and the port city of 
BROKER
LOST
GROUPS
REBELS

STOLEN
Durrës, along with the capital. The 
TRADER
WARRIORS
TRANSPORTED ILLEGALLY
FIRST OWNER
TERRORISTS
area  of  Fushë-Kruja  also  seems  to 
REASSEMBLED/
UNLAWFUL HOLDERS
REACTIVATED 
SECOND OWNER
be problematic in the illicit trading 
of explosives. 
3.1.6 Extortion
Figure 2
Extortion is not widespread in terms 
of numbers but it is nonetheless 
PREDATORY EXTORTION 
highly  advanced.  The  forms  used 
seem to be ever more sophisticated. 
BAIT
There are two categories of criminal 
groups using extortion in Albania 
–  unorganised  small  groups  and 
VICTIM
well-organised  groups.  The  most 
ORGANISER
widespread is the predator scheme 
(see  Figure  3),  although  there  are 
criminal groups that go for the more 
sophisticated form of extortion 
ASSISTANTS
which is the ‘symbiotic’ form  (see 
Figure 4) in some of the main  cities 
Figure 3
in the country, Tirana in particular. 
There is an increasing trend 
towards extortion on the part of 
SYMBIOTIC EXTORTION IN BUSINESS
criminal groups against businesses, 
ASSISTANTS
but these are not so evident as they 
are not reported to the authorities. 
Links  have  been  noted  between 
EXTORTIONIST
criminal groups and powerful 
businesses for the purposes of illicit 
gain.    Businesses  blackmail  their 
competitors in exchange for money 
VICTIM/
COMPETING 
BUSINESS B
or the involvement of criminal 
ORDERER
COMPETING
BUSINESS A
organisations  in  their  businesses. 
There has been an increase in 
extortion by groups of minors who 
Figure 4
copycat similar forms used by adult criminal groups. An increase in online extortion has been noted, in particular 
among youngsters.
12  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :  

3.1.7 Contracted killers 
2003-2014
Since  2011,  there  has  been  a 
PROFESSIONAL KILLER
SUPPORTER
sophistication  of  paid  assassins. 
The most problematic category is 
that  of  ‘professional  killers’  (see 
LOOKOUT
Figure 5). This category of assassins 
is gradually taking on the organised 
KILLER 1
VICTIM 1
form of criminal networks, in which 
ORDERER (S)
KILLER 2
the role of middleman seem to be 
the most organised. There has been 
MIDDLEMAN
an increase in cooperation between 
LOOKOUT
VICTIM 2
businesses and paid assassins who 
SUPPORTER
are used for security by businesses 
Figure 5
or in order to eliminate their 
competitors. 
There are two types of professional killers: mobile ones, in other words individuals who are resident in an EU 
country, and resident killers, those who have returned to Albania.  What has been noted recently is that criminal 
groups are recruiting teenagers whom they are grooming to commit murder, and this seems to be a new approach. 
The youngsters recruited come from families with a criminal past, or young offenders serving a term for offences 
such as stealing or pick-pocketing/burglary. The latter make contact with known criminals in prison, who are then 
used for threats.
3.1.8 Cyber organised crime
ONLINE
Cyber organised crime is becoming 
SWARM
increasingly sophisticated, although 
organised structures are not very 
clear. Albanian criminal groups are 
flexible  and  they  can  move  from 
one type of crime to another with 
MEMBERS
ease depending on the criminal 
activity (see Figures 6 and 7). There 
VICTIM
is a trend towards small groups 
getting together based on contacts 
made primarily online but also 
through friends.  They are made up 
Figure 6
of members coming from large and 
small cities with a mix of online and offline activities (see Figure 8).  Members of these groups are aged 18-35.  A 
characteristic of the groups is that they set up close contacts with hackers in the region, in particular Kosovan ones. 
Albanian hackers have become members of forums/blogs, administered by international criminal groups, and 
may be subcontracted for criminal activities against banks or public institutions. There is a risk that international 
criminal groups that distribute pornographic material of minors online may contract paedophiles resident in 
Albania to produce pornographic material with Albanian minors. 
: :  ExEcutivE summary - F. Zhilla & B. lamallari : :  13  

3.1.9 Money laundering
ONLINE
Money laundering is closely linked 
CENTRIFUGAL
to organised crime. It has infiltrated 
and  influenced  the  economic, 
political and social life of the country. 
The main areas where money of 
criminal origin is invested are the 
CENTRIFUGE
construction  industry,  modern 
processing  plants,  the  gaming 
VICTIM
industry, mines, energy production, 
MEMBERS
the oil industry (fuels), and tourist/
travel agencies, as well as in licences 
and concessions from the state. The 
Figure 7
most typical ways of presenting 
ONLINE & OFFLINE
‘dirty money’ in the legal economy 
STRUCTURED HYBRIDS
are through multiple transactions 
in  secondary-level  or  high  street 
CELL 2
banks, loans from these institutions, 
VICTIM 2
transfers through money transfer 
agencies and through the use of 
the identity of family members and 
friends.  In 2014, the value of seized 
VICTIM 1
assets from organised crime groups 
and  criminals  was  over  10  million 
CELL 1
euros.  The  main  concern  is  the 
low  number  of  confiscations  and 
Figure 8
the revocation by higher courts of 
decisions in favour of confiscation, 
MONEY LAUNDERING 
A TYPICAL SCHEME
along with the low number of 
sanctions for this offence. The more 
powerful organised crime groups 
become through money laundering, 
the  more  crime  is  generated,  with 
          TRANSFERS                         
more illicit earnings, corruption and 
2
LAYERING
impunity. 
1
PLACEMENT
INTEGRATION
3
Figure 9
14  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :  


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ORGANISED
CRIME
Risk Assessment in Albania
FINANCIAL
SUPPORTER 

ORDERER
MIDDLEMAN
COORDINATOR
RECEIVER
SUPPORTERS/
PACKAGERS 

DEALERS
PROVIDER
WHOLESALER/
MANUFACTURER

MONEY COURIERS 
RESPONSIBLE FOR 
TRANSPORTATION
COURIERS 
16  : :  OrGaNiSED CrimE - riSk aSSESSmENt iN alBaNia  : :