End of the road for Agon Channel Italia
November 17, 2015
From Branislav Pekic in Rome
After months of uncertainties, Agon Channel Italia has ceased broadcasting and its place on the TIMB Mux 1 digital multiplex has been taken over by shopping channel ABC.
During its brief history (less than 12 months on air), the Italian broadcaster, based in Tirana, Albania, was frequently in the news for both the right and wrong reasons.
The channel managed to sign up leading Italian TV personalities such as Maddalena Corvaglia, Luisella Costamagna, Roberto D’Agostino, Sabrina Ferilli, Veronica Maya, Pupo and Simona Ventura. The launch gala last November even boasted the presence of Nicole Kidman.
However, after a few months on air, the head of news, Antonio Caprarica, left accusing the management of a lack of technical expertise and understaffing.
This summer, Agon Channel’s owner, Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti, ended up with judicial problems in Albania, leading to the impounding of the Albanian version of Agon Channel and its subsequent closure in October.
At the end of October, Becchetti was detained by the UK police on behalf of authorities in Albania, where he is wanted in connection with “fraud” and “money laundering” regarding a failed hydropower plant project. A procedural hearing will be held on December 7th regarding Albania’s request for extradition.
For his part, Becchetti strongly denies all the charges against him, which have been brought by the Albanian Government, claiming they are “groundless, improperly motivated and unsupported by any evidence”.