PM of North Macedonia, temporarily in the role of Minister of Finance

June 2019
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PM of North Macedonia, temporarily in the role of Minister of Finance. After submitting the proposal for the reconstruction of the Government, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced the names of the new ministers who will lead Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Culture, Environment and spatial planning, Local Government and Finance. The most surprising announcement was that the Prime Minister himself will temporarily run the Ministry of Finance while at the same time retaining his role of Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia. The Anti-Corruption Commission reacted in a timely manner and prevented the Prime Minister from formally doubling his functions. After the announcement by the Anti-Corruption Commission, which was submitted at the beginning of the parliamentary session, Mr Zoran Zaev decided to withdraw the proposal he himself submitted to the parliament.


Former Minister of Transport and Communications arrested for embezzlement

June 2019
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Former Minister of Transport and Communications arrested for embezzlement. The Public Prosecutor for Prosecuting Organised Crime and Corruption in cooperation with the police conducted a large-scale operation to arrest suspects at several locations in Skopje, including the former Minister for Transport Mr Mile Janakieski, notaries, administrative officers and public officials. These arrests were relating the state land on which the Spanish steps were supposed to be built in Skopje, during the “Skopje 2014” project. The detainees were arrested under the charges of abuse of official position and authority, unscrupulous work and embezzlement of about 2 million euros.


European Commission publishes North Macedonia Country Report for 2018

May 2019
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European Commission publishes North Macedonia Country Report for 2018. According to the European Commission’s report, North Macedonia has made good progress by further consolidating a track record on investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating high level corruption cases and through changes to the legislative framework. The Commission noted that the new legal framework for preventing corruption has improved and that the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption and Special Public Prosecutor have taken important steps to fight against corruption, including cases involving high-level officials. The Commission however, calls on the authorities to demonstrate that the fight against corruption is a national priority as corruption is prevalent in many areas throughout North Macedonia.

In the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the Commission states that further work is needed to align with the acquis. The Commission welcomed the newly adopted AML law which focuses on ultimate beneficial ownership and enhanced customer due diligence. Furthermore, while recognizing that some progress had been made in systematically conducting financial investigations, the Commission concluded that there is still a need to further improve coordination, operational capacity and the systemic exchange of data.


North Macedonian court jails 16 former government officials over 2017 protests

March 2019
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North Macedonian court jails 16 former government officials over 2017 protests. A North Macedonian court has sentenced 16 people to prison over their role in the violent protests and the invasion of the country’s parliament in 2017. Among those sentenced was the former interior minister and former director of the Office For Public Security Mr Mitko Cavkov, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for “terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order and security.” The others, including police officers, members of civil organisations and citizens, were sentenced between 7 and 15 years in prison each. The sentences came after the violence that broke out in Parliament in 2017 when about 200 protesters poured into the building in response to the election of a new speaker, an ethnic Albanian Talat Xhaferi.


Former political leaders implicated in money laundering, extortion and illicit land deals

January 2019
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Former political leaders implicated in money laundering, extortion and illicit land deals. A wide-ranging corruption investigation by the Macedonian special prosecutor has unearthed new evidence of wrongdoing in dozens of deals by VMRO-DPMNE, the right-wing party that ruled the country between 2006 and 2017. The prosecutor alleged that the party illegally collected at least €4.6 million in a money laundering and extortion scheme, accepted illegal donations to construct its lavish “White Palace” headquarters in Skopje, and illegally purchased at least 68 other properties across the country worth €17.5 million in total. The allegations are part of two indictments charging party officials — including former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who fled to Hungary in November — with money laundering and abuse of their official positions. Gruevski has been convicted and other party officials charged in related cases as part of a broader government corruption probe.


House arrest instead of custody for accused businessman

December 2018
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House arrest instead of custody for accused businessman. The Special Public Prosecutor’s Office requested house arrest instead of custody for a number of accused persons in the “Empire” case, a case that was opened by the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office focusing on the business empire of the richest man in the country Orce Kamcev and his business connections with the ex-chief of the Office of Security and Counter Intelligence Saso Mijalkov. In the “Empire” case 13 individuals are suspects of criminal association, damage or privilege of creditors, abuse of office, fraud and money laundering. Additionally, the Special Prosecutor’s Office requested house arrest in a difference case for the former Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski and former government Secretary-General Kiril Bozinovski, who are indicted in other SPO cases.


The former Head of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence held in custody

November 2018
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The former Head of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence held in custody. The former Head of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence, Sasho Mijalkov for the first time since being in custody, was brought to the Basic Court of Skopje for the trial mainly referring to election irregularities. In this case, alongside Mijalkov, the leader of the political party DPA, Menduh Tachi, and several former members of the State Election Commission were also charged. Mijalkov is charged with the crime of receiving money for unlawful influence, and the others for abuse of official position and authority. Mijalkov also had a hearing scheduled for another case concerning the wiretapping of government officials, politicians, businessmen and journalists, three heads of Administration for Security and Counterintelligence and seven others. The trial for this case was not realized with an explanation from the court that the judges did not have enough time to send an order for Mijalkov to be placed in the investigative prison.


Ex-PM Nikola Gruevski flees the country

November 2018
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Ex-PM Nikola Gruevski flees the country. The former Prime Minister was charged for abuse of his political power and ordered the then active Minister of Interior Gordana Jankulovska to purchase a luxury car worth approximately €600,000 for his own needs. The buying of the “Mercedes” was kept in secret and the contract for purchasing of the car was signed by the then active deputy minister Gjoko Popovski who carried out the illegal procurement by favoring a single bidder, and the authority to do so was given to him by the Ex-Minister of Interior, Gordana Jankulovska. The former Prime Minister was charged with two-year jail sentence after the Skopje Court of Appeal confirmed his first-instance verdict for in a previous case which was led by the Special Public Prosecutor's Office and referred to the purchase of an official vehicle in 2011. Gruevski has fled the country and is currently seeking political asylum in Hungary.


Former Macedonian Minister jailed over luxury car purchase

October 2018
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Former Macedonian Minister jailed over luxury car purchase. On 8 October 2018, the Skopje Criminal Court found Gordana Jankuloska guilty of abusing her position and authority in the purchase of a €600,000 bulletproof Mercedes while she was Interior Minister in 2012, and sentenced her to six years in prison. Judge Dobrila Kacarska said that Nikola Gruevski, who was Prime Minister at the time, solicited the purchase of the car from Jankuloska. The defendant then encouraged former Deputy Interior Minister Gjoko Popovski to rig the tendering procedure and commit a "criminal act." Jankuloska, who did not attend the court session, had pleaded not guilty. Gruevski, who led the government from 2006 to 2016, and Popovski were sentenced to prison in May in the same case, and an appeals court last week upheld the former Prime Minister's two-year sentence.


The selling of EDS raises a lot of questions

October 2018
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The selling of EDS raises a lot of questions. Greek media reporting on the sale of the Macedonian Electricity Trading and Supply Company (EDS) to the Greek Electricity Distribution Company (DEI) allege that it is a criminal act. This raises a number of questions as the Greek company purchased the EDS, which has a negative credit rating, from the Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angjushev only 2 months before the signing of the Prespa Agreement between the Republic of Greece and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The amount of money that Mr Angjushev has received from the Greek company on his personal accounts, which are not on the accounts of the EDS group, is approximately €4.8 million. Authorities in Greece say that the purchase of EDS by DEI was unanimously decided by the DEI Steering Board. The Minister of Energy and Environment of Greece, George Shtatakis, in a written statement says that the purchase of EDS by DEI has been known for a year and was within the company’s policy for expansion in the Balkans.