Italian businessman wanted in Albania fraud probe into unbuilt hydroelectric plant

Albanian authorities have issued arrest warrants for an Italian businessman, his mother, and two associates, accused of fraud-related offenses and money laundering over a failed hydroelectric scheme that allegedly cost the government tens of millions of euros in grants and unpaid taxes.

Prosecutors said they issued the warrants Monday, and ordered the seizure of assets in Albania of the 48-year-old Francesco Becchetti, whose companies include a private television channel.

Becchetti began investments in Albania in the 1990s following the fall of Communism, but a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said he no longer lives in the country.

The investigation into his activities was launched over a major hydroelectric plant that was never built.

The charges against him carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.