The Albanian government learned of the precarious state of several pyramid schemes during the last half of 1996, but feared a total collapse if it made the knowledge public, President Sali Berisha said Saturday night.
Berisha said conflicting legislation was among the factors contributing to the crisis. Civil law allows individuals to turn over money to third parties for investments.
A banking law enacted last March, however, requires all institutions that take customer deposits to register as a bank.
Nearly every Albanian family has invested in the dozen or so get-rich-quick schemes, which either have collapsed or are expected to shortly, triggering nationwide protests for the last month.