Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was sentenced today to two years in prison for abuse of power. The leader of the Macedonian nationalist right was found guilty by a court in Skopje of receiving a Mercedes worth 600,000 euros for his personal use, paid for by the public purse.
A former senior official of the Ministry of the Interior, Gjoko Popovski, was sentenced to six years in prison. The former Minister of the Interior, Gordana Jankulovska, is due to appear later for abuse of power.
According to the prosecution, Gruevski used his influence to have this luxury vehicle bought from a company he intended to promote. Blaming the former strongman of Macedonia for “lying and ridiculing the citizens”, Judge Dobrila Kacarska said that they should have “been informed about this vehicle”. “Not only was that not the case, but we heard that the prime minister intentionally tried to hide this car,” said the magistrate.
One of Nikola Gruevski’s lawyers, Dimitar Dangov, announced that he was going to appeal the decision.
At 47, Nikola Gruevski is only at the beginning of his legal troubles as he is being prosecuted in five other cases, concerning corruption, abuse of power, electoral fraud and illegal eavesdropping on opponents or representatives of civil society. After a long political crisis, the nationalist right of Nikola Gruevski was ousted from power a little over a year ago by a coalition led by the Social Democrat Zoran Zaev, supported by the parties of the Albanian minority .
Turning their backs on the uncompromising line of Nikola Gruevski, the new majority began an attempt to settle the old conflict with Greece on the name of “Macedonia”, reviving the process of rapprochement with the European Union. Zoran Zaev was acquitted at the beginning of the week in a corruption case. He was accused of accepting a bribe while he was mayor of Strumica.