Albania corruption trial

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TIRANA (Reuter) - Ten leaders of Albania's Communist Party went on trial in Tirana yesterday on charges of using state funds to pay for private luxuries under the Stalinist regime toppled three years ago.

The former Politburo members are each accused of spending up to 10.2m leks (dollars 1.7m at the then exchange rate) from state funds on themselves while ordinary Albanians lived in poverty. All 10 pleaded not guilty. They face imprisonment for up to 10 years if they are convicted. The state prosecutor, Genc Gjokutaj, said Communist Party leaders had access to Western food, clothes and luxury goods never seen by ordinary Albanians.