Leyton Orient: Albanian extradition case against Francesco Becchetti dropped

Francesco Becchetti
Francesco Becchetti said he had been subject to "unwarranted persecution" by the Albanian government

Albania's government has abandoned its attempt to get Leyton Orient president Francesco Becchetti extradited.

The Balkan country had wanted the Italian to face charges of fraud, forgery and money laundering relating to a failed hydro-electric scheme.

Becchetti, 49, had denied the charges and his lawyers said the case was "politically motivated".

A district judge dismissed the Albanian government's case earlier this month and they have decided not to appeal.

Becchetti's business associate Mauro De Renzis, 61, had also been charged with the same offences, and the Albanian government's case against him has also been dropped.

Becchetti, who took over Orient in July 2014, has had business interests in Albania since the 1990s.

His assets were seized by the Albanian government following his arrest last summer and his TV station based in the country, the Agon Channel, was shut down.

The businessman had been forced to give up his passport and adhere to a curfew as part of his bail conditions, and said he had been subject to "unwarranted persecution".

"After more than a year, and after a lengthy legal fight, we have the first just decision made by the Albanian government," Becchetti added in a statement on the Leyton Orient website.

"There should now be an immediate end to all other proceedings against me in Albania that remain unresolved."

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