North Macedonia’s former chief prosecutor has been charged with abuse of office for allegedly receiving a payment from a businessman in return for a lenient sentence in his corruption trial.
According to the indictment published on Thursday, media mogul Bojan Jovanovski used his friendly relationship with prosecutor Katica Janeva to seek a reduced prison sentence for businessman Orce Kamcev who is facing charges of criminal association, fraud and money laundering.
A third suspect, Zoran Milevski, allegedly organised Jovanovski’s meetings with the Kamcev’s wife, and later with Kamcev himself, during which he assured them that they would be able to influence the prosecutor.
Jovanovski and Milevski received the agreed sum of 500,000 euros from Kamcev’s wife, after which Janeva agreed to release the businessman from pretrial detention and place him under house arrest.
After paying the three suspects another million euros, Janeva gave her written consent to have his passports returned, the indictment states, according to Balkan Insight.
In return, Janeva allegedly received furniture worth around 4,800 euros and 50,000 euros in cash, while Jovanovski and Milevski received one and a half million euros.
Janeva’s lawyer, Irena Frckoska, said her client had taken the news badly and been rushed from detention to a private heart clinic after complaining of high blood pressure and chest pain. “She is being kept at the clinic due to suspicion that she might be in a pre-heart attack condition,” Frckoska said.
Meanwhile, the prosecution has expanded its investigation against Jovanovski and four other suspects on suspicion of fraud and money laundering through a private fund owned by Jovanovski, which allegedly raised money to build homes for the elderly. Radio Free Europe’s Balkan service reports that the suspects, include Jovanovski’s father, Mile Jovanovski, vice-president of the Macedonian Parliament, Frosina Remenski, and Jovanovski’s aide Kristina Karajovanov.
Frosina Remenski, who belongs to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s Social Democratic Union is said to have attended meetings organised by Jovanovski and used her reputation to give the impression that the projects were backed by the government.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Thursday that the suspects face charges including bribery, money laundering and abuse of power.
Remenski, who was questioned by the Criminal Court on Friday, has pleaded not guilty.