North Macedonia’s former Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, who had been granted political asylum in Hungary, has now been handed a nine-year jail sentence on Friday for ordering the demolition of a former ally-turned-rival’s building in Skopje, Balkan Insight reports.
Gruevski fled to Budapest in 2018 to avoid a two-year prison sentence for buying a luxury limousine – with the alleged help of the Hungarian government before his detention – which was only for two years at the time. As we previously reported, in April of this year he was sentenced to seven years for embezzling €1.3 million in donations to his party.
The accusation is that Gruevski, as prime minister, hired his then Transport Minister, Mile Janakieski, to help get revenge on businessman and former politician, Fiat Canoski, for his party’s departure from the Gruevski-led coalition government. Janakieski was sentenced to three years in prison and the then-mayor of Skopje, Gazi Baba, to four years. The defendants had pleaded not guilty.
The first-instance judgment in the “TNT” case was handed down seven years after the then opposition, now ruling Social Democrats, broke the scandal in 2015. Several hidden phone conversations have since been leaked in which Gruevski and Janakieski are believed to be talking about the demolition of the “Cosmos” apartment building.
Sources: 444, Balkan Insight
Featured image via Zoltán Máthé/MTI