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Nikola Gruevski: the former Prime Minister of North Macedonia sentenced to a fourth prison term

The former Prime Minister of North Macedonia was found guilty for the fourth time since 2018 and sentenced to nine years in prison for abuse of power.

Nikola Gruevski was found guilty of ordering the demolition of a multimillion-euro residential and commercial complex in Skopje in 2011.

Prosecutors called the incident an act of political revenge and said the compound belonged to the leader of a small party who had just left Gruevski’s government.

Three other defendants were also jailed in the case on Friday, including North Macedonia’s former transport minister, the former mayor of Skopje and a municipal official.

The three suspects were found guilty of falsely declaring the construction illegal and facilitating its demolition with explosives.

They had argued that the demolition was justified because the complex had not been built properly.

The court in North Macedonia ordered the three men to jointly pay 11 million euros in damages, in addition to prison sentences.

The 51-year-old former prime minister was living in exile in Hungary for more than three years.

He fled North Macedonia in November 2018 after being sentenced to two years in prison for using a €600,000 Mercedes bought with public funds for personal use.

Two years later, he was also convicted in absentia of incitement to violence and sentenced to an additional 18 months.

In April, a court also sentenced Gruevski to seven years in prison for embezzling 1.3 million euros in party donations.

The charges all relate to a wiretapping scandal in 2015 when it emerged that the phone conversations of more than 20,000 people – including politicians, judges, police officers, journalists and foreign diplomats – had been taped illegally.

The scandal sparked a snap election in 2016 in which Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE party lost to Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev.

North Macedonia unsuccessfully asked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an ally of Gruevski, to extradite the former nationalist leader.

euronews Gt

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