I will not vote for constitutional changes, says Gruevski after decision from Appellate Court

Skopje, 5 October, 2018 - 18:51 (META) 

The prison sentence is political persecution, said former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski after the announcement of the decision by the Appellate Court to uphold the two-year prison sentence for the SPO’s “Tank” case (the purchase of Mercedes of 600,000 euros).

“This is classic political persecution. I will use all legal avenues available to me. There is no need for new evidence here because there is already much evidence in this case. According to the indictment, I am being charged with influencing the purchase of a vehicle which myself and others were meant to use,” said Gruevski.

Answering a journalist’s question regarding the current situation that requires parliamentary votes from the opposition for constitutional amendments to be made, Gruevski said that no amnesty will be offered as trade for votes.

“I will not vote for the constitutional changes and I will not support them. I do not intend to betray the people,” said Gruevski.

Gruevski heard the verdict from the appeal in the courtroom while listening to the bombs in the “Titanic” case.

Gruevski: The Government is leading a political smear campaign and I will not show up at court

Skopje, 4 September, 2018 - 17:03 (META) 

The former Prime Minister and VMRO-DPMNE’s party leader, Nikola Gruevski announced at today’s press conference that he will not appear at the Appeal court tomorrow and during the trial at the “Tank” case neither his attorneys will attend, because, the decision was already decided politically.

Gruevski accused the government that it leads a political prosecution against him and while the judges are acting professionally but they work under duress.

Neither I nor my attorneys will show up at the court. Even their presence at the Appellate Court cannot change anything. No legal arguments are enough for a politcally motivated verdict and the politcal decision that was made in advance. If the judges are so frightened and have succumbed to political orders then this is an opportunity for making a political decision in my absence. No illegal imprisonment will erase from the people’s memories the acts that I have done for this country and people, in order to defend the state interests – said Gruevski.

He also said that he is not tried by the court but by politics.

-The Judiciary is persecuting me because I was the leader of VMRO-DPMNE and because I’m an obstacle to someone. The judges are professionals and are experts, but are working under great duress, and some are close to Zoran Zaev – said Gruevski and complained that a term was set for a hearing at a time when his attorneys were at a hearing concerning the attacks at the Parliament on the 27th of April, and he was at the Appellate for 11 hours.

Regarding the documents published by Wikileaks which claim that he had agreed to change the name into Republic of North Macedonia, Gruevski said that it was a futile attempt on part of the government and rubbish.

These are futile attempts by the government and probably there will more of thise. They are campaigning now and we shall hear all sorts of rubbish. It is clear why I’m at court and why I’m a subject of apolitical persecution and torture. If I agreed with the Greeks, the situation would have been different and I’m a man of principles and dignity – said Gruevski.

Kotzias: Gruevski pretended that he didn’t want a solution to the name

Athens, 4 September, 2018 - 15:57 (META) 

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that “the former Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, did not want to resolve the name dispute.”

The reaction from Kotzias follows information published by Wikileaks, that Macedonian authorities had accepted a name change back in 2008.

“It is well known that Gruevski did not want any solution to the name dispute. He ridiculed international players, saying he was being forced to compromise. Nobody trusted him except, if we recall, Mr. Mitsotakis,” said Kotzias.

“Kathimerini” published a confidential document from the US Embassy in Skopje titled “What Macedonians Need to Do to Address the Name Dispute,” written by the then US ambassador to Macedonia, Gillian Milovanovic.

It states that as early as 2008, Skopje officially agreed to change the constitutional name in “the Republic of North Macedonia”, provided that it included recognition of the Macedonian language and nationality.

The first part of the document mentions that Milovanovic presented her conclusions after talks with the then President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski and Nikola Gruevski, and states that the conditions were acceptable to the country.

“The US Embassy in Skopje estimates that the Macedonian Government is ready for the path to NATO and EU membership by agreeing on the name the Republic of North Macedonia by all international organizations,” reads the document from the US Embassy in Macedonia, which Wikileaks published.

Gruevski wrote on Facebook: Head’s up, better times are coming

Skopje, 23 May, 2018 - 20:08 (META) 

Former prime minister and former leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, after today’s verdict to two years imprisonment, sentenced by the Criminal Court in the “Tank” case, wrote on Facebook, “better times are coming”.

“Heads up, my proud citizens of Macedonia. This is your country, we will not let you down and we will be side by side with you, in all challenges. You, the people, are our strength, we are your strength. Better times are coming. Head’s up, and do not forget, this is your country, this is the land of all of you who live here and nobody else’s. You decide! Long live the Republic of Macedonia”, wrote Gruevski.

This was part of Gruevski’s speech at a rally in Skopje before the early parliamentary elections in December 2018. He posted his message with a video recording from that rally on social networks.

Gruevski’s defense team to appeal the verdict in “Tank” case

Skopje, 23 May, 2018 - 18:18 (META) 

Today, after Nikola Gruevski was sentenced for a term of two years imprisonment in the SPO’s case “Tank”, defense lawyer, Dimitar Dangov said that the defense will appeal the verdict. Former assistant at the Ministry of Interior, Gjoko Popovski, was sentenced to a six years and six months term of imprisonment.

Dangov said that the court had no basis for the verdict, on the contrary, the verdict should have been of ‘not guilty’.

Responding to journalist’s questions as to why Gruevski did not attend the hearing, Dangov answered that the decision was his prerogative.

Following the verdict being announced, a group of approximately thirty protesters who had gathered on the lawn in front of the Criminal Court began to chant “Nikola Nikola” and said that it was a huge injustice because the defendants were not guilty.

Gruevski sentenced to two years imprisonment for the luxury “Mercedes”

Skopje, 23 May, 2018 - 17:46 (META) 

The Criminal Court sentenced the former prime minister and former leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, in the court case “Tank”, to two years in imprisonment, for the procurement of the luxury bulletproof “Mercedes” which costs 35 million and 266 thousand denars, i.e. 575.000 euros.

Gruevski, who did not appear in the courtroom to hear the verdict, was charged for “receiving a reward for illegal influence” ie illegal lobbying.

This is the first verdict concerning Nikola Gruevski amongst the many cases that the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPО) are conducting against him.

Former Assistant Minister of Public Procurement within the Interior Ministry, Gjoko Popovski, who was charged for abusing his position and authority, was sentenced to six years and six months.

Nevertheless, both are expected to pay court costs, which amounts to 325,584 denars.

Former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska is facing the same charges, however the case was made separate due to a “risky pregnancy”.

“It is without doubt that the “Mercedes” vehicle was purchased and the defendants were aware that it was an extremely expensive car. At Gruevski’s behest, Jankuloska carried out an official act that she was not permitted to do and she prompted Popovski to commit the crime which is an abuse of official position. Defendants favored the economic operator “Mak Autostar”, said Judge Dobrila Kacarska before announcing the verdict.

According to Kacarska, from the presented evidence among which are wiretapped conversations that have not yet been released, the court discovered that as early as February 2012, two months before the tender was made public, in a telephone conversation between Gruevski and Gordana Jankulovska, he had said that he had seen all three prospects and was only interested in the one that “begins with M”. Then, on the 30th of March, the same year, a month before the tender was made public, the person in charge at “Mak Autostar” in the import department booked the vehicle at the headquarters in Stuttgart, and then in another email ten days later, he informed them that the job would be arranged for the vehicle to be delivered.

Kacarska added that it was apparent from the evidence that defendant Gjoko Popovski was already in communication with “Mak Autostar” and asked them for an exact specification of the “Mercedes” and that it be placed in the public tender, which undoubtedly shows that the tender was set up to get the car Gruevski wanted.

Regarding the explanation of the verdict, it was said that from the other evidence, it was obvious that in constant coordination by Jankuloska, Popovski and the employees of the Ministry of Interior who wrote the tender, everything was done to exclude the possibility of another competitor appearing, i.e. she carried on saying, similar vehicles were offered such as, a “BMW” and an “Audi”, but the tender was written for a specific gearbox, rear-wheel drive and engine power as well as for other technical equipment.

Jankuloska and the former government general secretary, Kiril Bozinovski, communicated intensively regarding the procurement from March to July, and he was precisely informed that the job was arranged for Gruevski to get the Mercedes he wanted.

The “bomb” regarding the procurement for the luxury bulletproof “Mercedes” was released over three years ago, on the 13th of May. In January, 2017, the SPO’s investigation began, and in January 2018 the trial started. SPO Prosecutors asked for a conviction, because the procurement of the vehicle was purchased with public funds and it was the capricious wish of the former prime minister to own the luxury car.

Gruevski’s governments spent at least 1.73 million euros a year on advisers

Skopje, 15 May, 2018 - 15:19 (META) 

After yesterday’s allegations by VMRO-DPMNE regarding the annual costs of at least half a million euros for advisers to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the Government disclosed their own calculations, saying that during the mandates of Nikola Gruevski as prime minister from 2010 to 2015, at least 1, 73 million euros were spent on his advisers.

The government published a list of 91 advisers and external advisers to Gruevski, explaining that the list does not contain the information for the period between 2006 to 2010, which are yet to be calculated.

“In just over a year, Nikola Gruevski’s government spent 71.6 million denars of the citizens money for external advisers, some of which were hired with a salary of 7,000.00 euros per month. Furthermore, there is a lack of data from copyright agencies through which the external advisers were hired, which means that the number of 91 advisors and external advisers is not final”, reads the government statement.

They explain that apart from individual consultations, former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski had contracts for consultation services from foreign advocacy agencies, legal consultations, brand building, public relations, etc. in 2015 and 2016. There are four contracts amounting to a total value of 569,000 euros or 34,99 million denars.

Gruevski: I had no intention of causing an incident, Xhaferi should apologize to the public

Skopje, 16 March, 2018 - 15:37 (META) 

Former Prime Minister and VMRO-DPMNE MP, Nikola Gruevski said today that he had not intended to cause an incident in Parliament, when the Law on the Use of Languages ​​was adopted, but only wanted to show that he disagreed with the manner in which it was passed.

During a brief adjournment in SPO’s case known as “TNT”, Gruevski stated that he only pulled the hand of the Speaker of Parliament, Talat Xhaferi at the same moment when he had touched him and that nothing more happened.

According to him, Xhaferi should apologize both to the Macedonian and Albanian public because “he has adopted a law that affects Albanian citizens in a dishonest and concealed manner”. Gruevski added that the procedure had been violated when the law was passed, and that the law is unconstitutional.

In a tense atmosphere the Law on the Use of Languages was passed

Skopje, 14 March, 2018 - 19:14 (META) 

In a tense atmosphere at Parliament, with 64 votes “for” and with none “against”, the Law on the Use of Languages was passed ​​without a debate on the 36,000 amendments submitted by the opposition VMRO-DPMNE.

VMRO-DPMNE MPs protested again and were led by their former leader Nikola Gruevski who again approached the chair of the Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi and said “Do not force it” and “I will not do anything to you, but it is not good for you to force it “.

Currently, representatives of the government and the opposition are still present in the hall.

Previously, a smaller physical altercation between Gruevski and Xhaferi was prevented. Before the 15-minute break, the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski stood directly in front of Xhaferi, hit the table with his hand, hit the bell, covered his microphone and as a final provocation, emptied the contents of his water glass before finally climbing up behind him switching off his microphone.

While Xhaferi came out of the hall, Gruevski approached him, but the Parliamentary security prevented a more serious altercation.

These latest developments in Parliament confirm that it was Nikola Gruevskui who was behind the attempts to block the work of Parliament, the reform process and Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic perspective, said SDSM in a statement.

They went on to say that “it is a confirmation that Hristijan Mickoski is just a uppet of the suspect Gruevski and that he does not have the capacity to reform VMRO-DPMNE”.

Zakon za jazici Sobranie (3) Zakon za jazici Sobranie (4) gruevski dzaferi sobranie 2

Tense atmosphere in Parliament: Physical altercation prevented between Gruevski and Xhaferi

Skopje, 14 March, 2018 - 18:22 (META) 

While Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi began to read out that the Law on the Use of Languages ​​would be on the voting agenda, MPs from VMRO-DPMNE, led by former leader Nikola Gruevski tried to prevent Xhaferi from calling a vote.

Coordinator of the VMRO-DPMNE parliamentary group, Dragan Danev, demanded a procedural objection, but Xhaferi would not grant him one, after which the majority of VMRO-DPMNE MPs stood before Xhaferi and yelled “procedure”.

Former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski stood directly in front of Xhaferi, hit the table with his hand, hit the bell, covered his microphone and as a final provocation emptied the contents of his water glass before finally climbing up behind Xhaferi and switching off his microphone. Xhaferi then announced a 15-minute break.

Security guards finally stepped in to prevent a physical altercation between the two as Gruevski attempted to approach Xhaferi as he left the hall.