Prime Minister Involved In Real Estate Corruption
SDSM President Zoran Zaev released the tenth batch of phone-tapped materials Sunday presenting evidence of PM Nikola Gruevski’s involvement in real estate corruption of over 13,000 square meters lots in central Skopje with the market value of 5 million Euro. The tapes, disclosing conversations between Gruevski and Minister of Transport Mile Janakievski, confirm the former singlehandedly ordered modifications in detailed and general urban planning regulations to suit his personal lucrative interests and altering legal permits so the fraudulently acquired land returns greater profits.
The six recordings released shed light on Gruevski’s obsession with the Municipality of Centar that escalated with massive electoral fraud, three electoral re-runs during the 2013 Local Elections in the central Skopje municipality, the issuing arrest and detention of the Municipal Council Chairman Sipovic in 2013/2014, and the attempt to buy-off municipal councilors.
“Ask him (the urban planner in the municipality of Centar, n.a) how many individual lots it has been subdivided in and how big each one of them is? And, more importantly, ask him if the deal can be closed now, in January (2013, three months before the local elections, n.a.)… Before the new Council is voted in, because we don’t know how things will turn out,” Gruevski orders Janakievski.
In support of the accusations, Zaev presented altered urban planning diagrams, which showcase that all institutions (Skopje City Council, municipal council in Centar and the Cadastre) have been mobilized to push through Gruevski’s wish to get hold of the attractive locations despite legal limitations.
Additionally, cadastre deeds were presented proving that the lots have been bought by off-shore companies from Lugano, Switzerland and Belize linked to Gruevski and his cousin, Secret Police Chief Saso Mijalkov, in order to conceal their true ownership. “I’m handling this through a guy, who handles it through Alek (Aleksandar Ivanovski a.k.a. Alek Terranova, one of the closest business associates of Gruevski and Mijalkov, n.a.)… so (the guys at the municipality) have no idea who it’s for,” Gruevski tells Janakievski.
Zaev’s press conference took place only half an hour before the governing party staged a massive rally in the Boris Trajkovski sports hall in an attempt to demonstrate popular support for Gruevski and his Government against the opposition’s claims for electoral fraud and other crimes revealed in the wiretapped phone conversations. The two-hour nationalistically-underpinned event in front of an audience mainly recruited from public administration ranks that had allegedly been dragged and forced to attend was Gruevski’s chance to reiterate his positions and accusations against Zaev. Yet again, however, he failed to provide any meaningful explanation to the content of the tapes nor denied their authenticity.