Home Page
News 23 Apr 14

Macedonia Opposition Files Corruption Charges Against PM

The main opposition Social Democrats have filed corruption charges against Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski accusing him of taking a bribe to expedite the illegal sale of a bank.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
Macedonian opposition leader, Zoran Zaev presented documents of financial transactions | Photo by: SDSM

Macedonia's opposition Social Democratic Party, the SDSM, has filed charges against Prime Minister Gruevski on three accounts of taking bribes and tax evasion.

“By law, the minimum penalty for tax evasion alone is a minimum of four years in jail,” the head of the SDSM, Zoran Zaev, told a press conference.

Last week, the SDSM accused Gruevski of taking a bribe of €1.5 million to expedite the sale of Makedonska Banka to Serbian businessman Jovica Stefanovic, aka “Gazda Nini”, ["Boss Nini"] in 2004.

The opposition produced documents of financial transactions as well as legal papers from Macedonia’s Central Bank that approved the sale of the bank’s shares. The SDSM said the papers contained clear evidence of wrongdoing.

In addition, it released a lengthy telephone recording on which the opposition claims that Gruevski's voice can be heard discussing the illegal sale.

The SDSM said it had presented all of these findings to the public prosecutor in charge of fighting organized crime and corruption and expected a swift reaction.

“People are in prison or in detention today for much smaller criminal acts. Gruevski is very much in a position to influence witnesses; Gruevski could also repeat such acts because he is in power. An immediate reaction is needed,” Zaev said.

The ruling VMRO DPMNE last week dismissed the tape, saying the voice was clearly not that of Gruevsk and announced it would file slander charges against Zaev.

Police minister Gordana Jankuloska who is a member of VMRO DPMNE also made a statement, saying that Zaev would be the one to face charges.

“A lawsuit has already been announced for the accusations and slander presented by Zoran Zaev. This means that Zaev will most probably get the opportunity to prove the authenticity of the recording in a case in which he will be sued for slander,” Jankuloska said.

Since the publication of the audio recording on YouTube, mainstream media outlets in Macedonia have ignored the entire affair.

Last week, the State Prosecutor, Marko Zvrleski, said he was not acquainted with the case or with the audio recording. He said he would comment after the Easter holidays.

The affair comes amid a tense election campaign in Macedonia. On April 27, Macedonians will vote in the second round of the presidential election and in an early general election.

The affair could damage the standing of Gruevski, who is otherwise the clear favourite to win the elections and whose party emphasizes honesty as a key virtue.

The alleged criminal sale took place in 2004 while Gruevski was leader of VMRO DPMNE and still in opposition. He came to power in 2006.

The bank in question, which is now defunct, was linked to reports illegal activities long ago.

When Gruevski was Finance Minister from 1999 to 2002 in a government led by his predecessor at the helm of VMRO DPMNE, Ljubco Georgievski, the Social Democrats accused VMRO DPMNE of buying up large assets, including the bank, for party purposes, listing trusted party members as official owners.

Since the law has banned political parties from owning businesses, the bank shares have been sold to several off-shore and local companies. However, the opposition has continued to allege that these companies have remained controlled by VMRO DPMNE.

blog comments powered by Disqus

News

macedonia-ruling-party-accepts-possible-mediation-from-brussels

EU Mediation Proposed in Macedonia Political Row

Macedonia’s ruling party is ready to accept Brussels’ mediation in an attempt to resolve its post-election dispute with the opposition, which is boycotting parliament after alleging poll fraud.

macedonian-leaders-launch-dialogue-to-defuse-election-feud

Macedonian Leaders Meet to Tackle Post-Election Feud

Macedonia's prime minister and opposition leader are starting talks aimed at defusing the political crisis in the country, but experts suggest that progress could be slow.

macedonia-opposition-sets-terms-as-crisis-talks-postponed

Macedonia Opposition Sets Terms For Crisis Talks

As the opposition sets five conditions for ending the political crisis in the country, planned talks between party leaders have been postponed to next week.

parliament-to-endorses-new-macedonian-government

Parliament Gives Macedonia's New Govt the Nod

Macedonia's parliament formally endorsed the new government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Thursday.

macedonian-leaders-to-try-to-bridge-political-gap

Macedonia Leaders to Meet to Defuse Election Feud

Macedonia's Prime Minister and opposition leader have agreed to meet in an attempt to defuse the political crisis that erupted when the opposition disputed the April elections.

macedonia-opposition-faces-uncertainty-over-parliament-boycott

Boycott of Macedonian Parliament Starts to Fray

As parliament readies to verify the resignations of opposition MPs, some legislators are making it clear they wish to return to their seats.

macedonia-s-dpa-stays-in-opposition

Macedonia Opposition Party Spurns New Government

Despite speculation that the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians could join the new government after the April elections, the DPA said that it has decided to stay out.

macedonian-s-new-government-cabinet-revealed

Macedonian Prime Minister Reveals New Cabinet

Most ministers in the last government look set to remain in their posts as Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski proposed a new cabinet after his party's April election victory.

macedonia-mulls-additional-elections-for-vacant-seats

Macedonia Mulls New Elections for Vacant Seats

After the Prime Minister said fresh elections may be held for seats vacated by the opposition in parliament, the opposition has denounced the proposal.

macedonian-pm-denies-corruptive-bank-sale

Macedonian PM Denies Role in 'Corrupt' Bank Sale

After a month of maintaining silence about the case, Prime Minister Gruevski has rejected opposition accusations that he took cash to expedite the sale of a bank.

Live Blog

Macedonia Elections: Up to the Hour Updates

Stay tuned for all the latest developments, election results and reactions as Macedonia goes to the polls to elect a new government and head of state.

Background

Macedonia Elections Profile

In April, Macedonia will hold parallel presidential and early general elections - the latter considered more important as they will determine who will hold the most powerful post in the country, that of the Prime Minister.