Encrochat Hack: Albanian head of organised crime unit suspended over alleged leaks to criminals


THE head of Albania's special crime unit has been suspended amid allegations he sent information to an Albanian crime gang operating in Germany.

Artan Shkëmbi, the head of the police Operation Force of Law (OFL), was suspended three days ago, according to Albanian media reports. Shkëmbi’s allegedly corrupt communications said to have informed the gang about investigations into them were reportedly intercepted by German police.

It is alleged that he was using the supposedly encrypted mobile communication system Encrochat to communicate with the criminals.

Encrochat was hacked by law enforcement cyber experts in France and the Netherlands this spring.

It was found that an estimated 60,000 criminals were using it worldwide, with about 10,000 in the UK.

SPECIALIST: Albania's OFL is like the UK National Crime Agency (ABC)

Investigators allowed police across Europe access to the system and they were able to monitor the activities of suspected criminals in real time.

There was a huge amount of raids on suspected criminals plus seizures of drugs, firearms and cash from April onwards with more still taking place.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in the UK with hundreds charged.

At least two suspected corrupt law enforcement officers were identified in the UK.

Encrochat, whose owner is unknown, shut down the system after discovering the compromise.

Mr Shkëmbi was suspended from duty on September 28. He is suspected of corruption and leaking investigative and confidential information from the Special Prosecution against Corruption and Organised Crime to criminals.

The OFL is the main unit of the Albanian police created to fight serious organised crime.

Albanian criminal gangs have become a major player in the supply of cocaine across Europe with networks found to be highly active in the UK, Italy, Germany, France and Greece.

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