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"Suspicious transfers with Albania"/ Canada revokes Luftar Hysa's license after investigations into connections with Mexican cartels

2023-11-14 18:11:00, Denoncim CNA

"Suspicious transfers with Albania"/ Canada revokes Luftar Hysa's

A month ago, the Kahnawake Gambling Commission decided to deny Luftar Hysa's key person license. The decision came after an investigation published in La Presse newspaper linked Hysa to Mexican drug cartels.  

"On October 4, 2023, the Kahanawake Gaming Commission unanimously decided that Mr. Luftar Hysa was ineligible to be licensed by the Commission as a key person. The Commission's decision followed a lengthy and thorough investigation conducted by independent agents," the Kahnawake Commission's decision reads.

The Mohawk Territory of Kahnawakes is an indigenous reserve south of Montreal in Canada. In 2019, Magic Palace, a large gambling facility, opened its doors in this area. The Mirela restaurant, owned by the Albanian businessman Luftar Hysa, is located inside the premises.

"The commission is currently reviewing the additional information that has recently come to light regarding Mr. Hysa's prior role in Magic Palace operations and in cooperation with the Kahnawake Mohawk Council and the Kahnawake Peacekeepers, such additional action will be taken as necessary." to ensure the integrity of the gaming industry in Kahnawake,” the Gaming Commission's decision reads.

A week after this decision, Magic Palace announced that it had ended all relations with Mr. Hysa.

inquiry

Early last month, Canada's La Presse newspaper published an investigation titled "The shadow of a powerful cartel over a casino," citing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigative file.

"According to court documents obtained by La Presse, the Gendarmerie believes that Luftar Hysa recycles money from Mexican traffickers and that he uses a casino in Kahnaëake to do this," the newspaper writes.

Furthermore, La Presse also reveals evidence from the file.

"Everything indicates that the HYSA Warrior penetrated the Kahnawake Indian reservation to facilitate money laundering activities on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, as well as on its behalf," says a police investigator in a sworn complaint filed in a Montreal court. "

According to La Presse, in the complaint presented to the court, the Gendarmerie mentions that part of the funds transacted by the Magic Palace seem to slip through the cracks.

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC) raised a red flag in March 2023 regarding "potential money laundering activities", specifically on the Kahnawake Indian Reserve. A report from this institution targets Luftar Hysa, but also his construction company in Albania, Valona Konstruksion, as well as Mohaëk entrepreneur Stanley Myioë, who is presented as the owner of the Magic Palace," continues the article of La Presse.

According to the newspaper, the FINTRAC report mentions a series of transactions that are considered suspicious, including transfers to Albania, including to the company Valona Konstruksion, which the anti-money laundering institution in Canada says belongs to Mr. Hysa. Valona Konstruksion is a company founded in 2002 owned by businessman Besnik Lulaj. This company benefits from public tenders in Albania and owns casino licenses in Albania.

The Mirela restaurant, which Hysa says it owns, sent $28 million to Albania, Mexico, Great Britain, the United States and Italy in less than a year, from 2019 to 2020. Stanley Myiow and the construction company of the Hysa family in Albania are mentioned in "more than 50 suspicious activity reports" by FINTRAC, with a total value of 28 million Canadian dollars," the newspaper quotes the FINTRAC report.

La Presse newspaper says it tried to contact Mr Hysa but was unable to get a response from him about the allegations made by the Royal Gendarmerie.

Noise in Albania

In Albania, Mr. Hysa's name became public in September last year, when a Mexican newspaper published an article linking him to the Sinaloa cartel. After the publication of the article in the Albanian media, MCN television published exclusive photos where Mr. Hysa appeared leaving the office of Prime Minister Edi Rama together with former CDU-CSU MP Mark Hapuman, businessman Besnik Lulaj and former adviser to the Prime Minister Dorian Ducka.

Immediately after the publication of the photos, the opposition publicly accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of having ties to drug cartels. But the prime minister reacted by calling the Mexican newspaper's article a disgusting piece of paper.

"With a piece of paper, with a piece of paper, it is disgusting that an Albanian family is crucified without asking at all and linked to the man with one of the biggest cartels in the world, who has wealth equal to the GDP of Germany and who launders money in a hotel with less than 100 rooms in Vlora. I don't know how this is done, freeze traffickers, freeze criminals, whatever, I am completely powerless to do anything," declared Rama.

The prime minister further added that he had no connection with any cartel.

"I don't know any cartel, I'm not related to any illegal activity, I don't live to eat and take out, so I've left you all those who are involved in these unimaginable waves of attacks that destroy families, nerves, children and everything. An article came out there and the whole network of sewage canals here is filled with a sludge that I don't know," Rama answered the accusations.

On the other hand, Mr. Hysa himself has denied any accusation of connection with the cartels.

"A man from Belgium deals with the Sinaloa cartel. Have I met you El Mayo? Do I deal with cards? I only do legitimate business. What's happening? Absolutely not. To receive from Albania that a card will deposit lek is a drop in the ocean," he declared in Opinion, accusing that the attack was coming from competitors in the business./ Kapitali.al

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