Zaev’s defence attorneys are asking that the footage from “Youtube” be excluded as evidence

Skopj, 27 June, 2017 - 12:18 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, accompanied by his legal team, Vane Andreev and Filip Medarski arrived at Basic Court Skopje I this morning, where the hearing for the “Bribe” case began, in which he is being charged for asking for a bribe of approximately 200,000 euros from a Strumica businessman for the privatization of construction land.

Today, the hearing was not postponed, as it had been several times before, however, it should end at 12 o’clock, as there is a government meeting scheduled, for which Zaev must be present.

In the courtroom, Zaev’s lawyer, Filip Medarski asked that the video footage be excluded as evidence because it appeared on “YouTube” and was then used by the media. With this, Medarski said, because the evidence was obtained illegally, it therefore can not be used as evidence during the court hearing.

Prosecution gathered evidence for the scandal “Actor” a whole year

Скопје, 24 March, 2015 - 14:33 (META) 

Public Prosecution for prosecution of organized crime and corruption gathers evidence for the case “Actor”, which in March last year, at a press conference, was announced by opposition SDSM, stated representatives of the prosecution from META, after a year of silence, answering the question: Is the investigation of the scandal “Actor” still ongoing?

“Competent Public Prosecution for prosecution of organized crime and corruption is taking measures and gathering evidence necessary to solve the case “Actor “. Given the complexity of the case, the competent prosecution takes actions on gathering evidence necessary to determine the circumstances of the execution of specific criminal-legal event,” reads the answer that the Public Prosecution sent to META.

Crew META yesterday visited the site where the Greek company “Actor” builds highway Demir Kapija – Smokvica. Construction work took place in earnest, and the workers who we found there said they do not know anything about the scandal that shook the company and that they haven’t heard of such a thing.

Last year in March, at a press conference, opposition SDSM presented documents and claimed that Greek citizens, through by the branch of the Greek company “Actor” in the country, withdrew millions of euros in cash from a branch of Stopanska Bank in Negotino.

As SDSM argued at the time, an amount of about 3.5 million euros is concerned. The money, according to their knowledge, has been raised in many cases, the first of which were registered in mid-2013.

The Financial Intelligence Office submitted a report of suspicious transactions to the competent public prosecutor last year. The prosecution said at the time that it initiated pretrial proceedings for the case “Actor”, but then seemed to forget the case and there are no more information on the procedure and the investigation.

That was the case until Sunday, when television “Telma”, referring to the OECD report (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), reported that the Greek authorities have launched an investigation against “Actor” on suspicion of bribing officials in Macedonia to win the tender for the construction of the highway Demir Kapija – Smokvica.

As stated in the report, Greek authorities, for their investigation, which except for bribery is also carried out for money laundering, sought help from the authorities in Skopje, and after they didn’t receive a reply, asked Eurojust to be a “facilitator” in the communication Athens – Skopje (Greek authorities contacted their counterparts in Eurojust to facilitate the request).

“Until this moment, Public Prosecution for prosecution of organized crime and corruption has not received any request from Eurojust for cooperation and assistance in this case. The prosecution has already achieved contacts with the competent authorities of the Republic of Greece after a request for international legal assistance. Given the complexity of the particular criminal-legal event and in the interest of the investigation, the competent prosecution cannot share details with the public,” reads the answer which public prosecution sent to META in connection with this issue.

Greek construction company “Actor”, started the construction of the section Demir Kapija – Smokvica in September 2012, after winning a government tender for construction of the highway, worth 270 million euros, although, as stated in the OECD report, the offer of the Greek firm was 40 million euros higher than those of competitors.

Opposition leader Zoran Zaev, yesterday, in response to a reporter’s question, asked prosecution to state its opinion on the scandal “Actor”, adding that, otherwise, he will announce new materials for the case in some of following “bombs”.

Opposition submitted new recordings to the prosecution

Скопје, 5 March, 2015 - 15:37 (META) 

Five members of the senior leadership of the opposition submitted materials of their tapped conversations today to the Public Prosecutor on, as it claims, a directive of the Government, and as an extension of the criminal charges for unauthorized wiretapping which SDSM filed several weeks ago.

Professor and candidate for president of SDSM in the last presidential election, Stevo Pendarovski, expressed hope that the evidence submitted by him and NSDP leader Tito Petkovski, vice president of SDSM Radmila Sekerinska, Mayor of Municipality of Centar and recent LDP leader Andrej Zhernovski and SDSM Secretary Oliver Spasovski, will not suffer the fate of the previous criminal charges, for which so far “nobody has an idea what is happens to it.”

– Because we all legalists, we want to believe that the institutions in the country will finally dare and act upon criminal charges for a massive crime against human rights, tapping of thousands and thousands of citizens of this country, without any reason. We have no faith in the people who currently run this institution (prosecution), but we believe that all the rest, among who, there are professionals, experts, virtuous people, this time will not be quiet and, in the interest of our common better future, will act upon the charges – stated Pendarovski.

According to Pendarovski, illegal tapping was misused by the Government for political purposes.

– The purpose for which they tapped us is to find out our political strategies and intentions. Otherwise, you know when somebody is eavesdropped? When there is reasonable doubt that we are criminals or are a criminal organization. As you know, none of us has ever been involved in drug or arms trafficking, or was part of a mafia organization. There is no basis me or my colleagues to be tapped. The only motivation was political – to gain some advantage for elections before and after them – said Pendarovski.

Prosecution wants to reveal or hide?

Skopje, 4 February, 2015 - 12:36 (META) 

Last night’s announcement of the prosecutor for the materials of the meeting between Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and opposition leader Zoran Zaev, in which, among other things, the media are cautioned not to publish such materials as they will be punished, drew strong reactions from the public and press associations.

Initial reactions to the announcement arise and suggest to several moments related to the disclosure of information and materials of the case “Puch”, of which three can be distinguished:

  • The media are prohibited from publishing pictures of the meeting between the Gruevski and Zaev related to developments in the case “Puch”;
  • It brings into question the presentation of evidence in the case “Bomb”, which the opposition leader claims to possess and announces that he will publish them;
  • Possibility media to publish material from “Puch” and “Bomb” is complicated with the warning of the prosecution that their publication violates the law.

The first to react to the latter through an announcement was Independent Union of Journalists (SSNM), saying that threatening warnings of the Public Prosecution “should not be an excuse to withdraw from the main task of journalism – to defend the public interest by helping the public, through the information it communicates, to make their own decision and opinion on issues and developments in society.”

Professor of the Faculty of Law “Justinian I” Gordan Kalajdziev believes that the media have an obligation to publish information on crime and corruption, and prosecution should explain which law prohibits it.

– Prosecution should explain which law prohibits the publication of such materials and the ground on which such materials were published by the Ministry of Interior until now. The media have an obligation to disclose information and material that has established and suspected corruption or crime. It’s like prohibiting a journalist, when he goes to the field regarding an event, to collect and publish evidence and testimonies of witnesses. Conclusion for the actions of the prosecution can also be drawn from the statement that the Helsinki Committee sent to the public, which indicates an impression that the prosecution is more trying to hide than to reveal and prosecute crime and corruption – says Kalajdziev.

The warning not to reveal classified information is a legitimate right of the prosecution, but it is different when they have already appeared in the public and are known by all, explains university professor and dean of the Faculty of Law at FON Temelko Ristevski.

– The prosecution cannot prohibit spreading of the truth in public. It can and should warn not to disseminate information with a certain degree of secrecy, but when something became public and well known, the secrecy stops, even if the document is still marked with the mark of confidentiality – says Ristevski.

Through an announcement, Public Prosecution reports that it asked MOI to contact the network on which the material from the meeting between Prime Minister and SDSM leader was published “for its removal and the removal of such materials which would appear in the future.”

– As always, we will act upon the requests of the Public Prosecution and ask “YouTube” to remove the disputed material. We are obliged to submit the response that we get from “YouTube” to the Public Prosecution, and they will decide whether to publicize it – said MOI spokesman Ivo Kotevski.

He says that they have several times acted upon requests from the Public Prosecution to respond to social networks for controversial materials.

Recently, a video of “Nova TV”, recorded during the first student protest that took place on 17th of November, was reported to the video service “YouTube” as “indecent” because “there is violation of someone’s privacy on the footage from 12:45 to 16:14.” Then “Nova TV” received a letter from “YouTube” to remove the disputed part of the video. In the disputed timeframe of the video, apart from students who protested, you can see the faces of the police officers securing the protest.

The Ministry of Interior then told us that they didn’t react to “YouTube” to remove part of the video.

– MOI is doesn’t has a procedure for the case and therefore it has no basis to request the removal of the video from “YouTube” – stated the MOI spokesman Ivo Kotevski for META.

Representatives of “Nova TV” said that it was attempted censorship because all recorded materials published are footages taken at a public event and represent footages of public interest.

A few days later, the portal received a response that the video was viewed by employees of “YouTube”, who decided, based on their rules, the content of the video not to be removed.