The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Head of Albanian private bank Banka Credins shot dead outside office in downtown Tirana

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TIRANA, Albania - The head and co-founder of one of Albania's biggest private banks was shot dead Thursday in the capital, police said.

Banka Credins CEO Artan Santo, 58, was gunned down when entering his downtown Tirana office, according to police spokeswoman Alma Katragjini.

Witnesses told The Associated Press that two helmeted men on a motorbike first chatted with Santo after he left his car in front of the entrance, before shooting six times. One shot hit Santo in the head.

Police on Thursday set up roadblocks across the capital to try to apprehend the fleeing assailants. The bank evacuated its offices in central Tirana. Authorities said it was too early to determine a possible motive.

Dozens of curious onlookers joined the evacuated bank staff near the spot where Santo was killed. Authorities cordoned off the area with police tape.

Santo, who was married with two children, has been CEO and director general of the 11-year-old Banka Credins. It is one of 16 banks in Albania.

The office, located near the house where late communist dictator Enver Hoxha once lived, sits in a formerly residential area that was off-limits to the public until 1990 when the communist regime fell. It's now a trendy area with coffee bars and offices.

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