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Bronx Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj Accepted Donations From The Albanian Mob

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Mark Gjonaj

Bronx Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj accepted campaign cash from two men indicted for money laundering in connection with drug trafficking and a scheme to smuggle AK-47s and a rocket launcher to Kosovo, records show.

The donors, Martin Shkreli and Xhevat Gocaj, donated money to Gjonaj through his Assembly and City Council campaign accounts.

Both are named in an indictment filed in Brooklyn federal court alleging extortion, money laundering and drug dealing that ultimately led to the sale of machine guns, an M80 Zolja anti-tank rocket launcher and a rocket to undercover law enforcement officials.

Shkreli of Bedford, NY directed $1,000 to Gjonaj through his City Council campaign committee on March 10, records show.

Shkreli is accused of providing “clean” checks to launder money for Andre Veliu, who was also named in a July 26 indictment for allegedly selling the rocket launcher and machine guns. According to court records filed in June, Veliu bragged his cousin is Alex Rudaj, who is “widely recognized as the leader of Albanian organized crime in New York.”

Shkreli declined comment.

Gocaj is the principal of the midtown Il Tinello Ristorante, which sent $1,000 to Gjonaj’s Assembly committee in January.

Gocaj and Veliu allegedly discussed laundering money during a wire-tapped phone call, court records show.

Gjonaj is facing off Tuesday against Marjorie Velazquez and John Doyle for a Bronx Council seat soon to be vacated by Councilman James Vacca.

Gjonaj spokeswoman Jennifer Blatus responded, “Mark Gjonaj is focused on making his case to voters of how he will fight for their interests in City Hall.”

 

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