A Criminal Court in Skopje convicted North Macedonia’s former prime minister Nikola Gruevski on Thursday of unlawfully acquiring over 1.3 million euros from his former ruling VMRO DPMNE party to profit himself and sentenced him in absentia to seven years in prison.
The Criminal Court in Skopje ruled that Gruevski had illegally obtained over €1.3 million from donations to his party throughout his tenure in power from 2006 to 2012.
Judges also found that Gruevski used party donations to buy property in Skopje and elsewhere through an offshore company created in Belize in order to mask his tracks.
“Gruevski needed money for this plan and decided to take (it) from party donations,” Judge Ilija Trpkov said.
Four of Gruevski’s associates were also convicted Thursday in the party funds scandal.
Gruevski’s first cousin Saso Mijalkov, the former head of the Secret Police, was sentenced to a year and three months in jail for aiding the money-laundering scheme.
Orce Kamcev, another associate of Gruevski, got one year in prison for money laundering, while two others received two-year suspended sentences after pleading guilty to money-laundering charges.
The criminal court in Skopje also ordered the confiscation of different properties, including luxury apartments in the city.
Gruevski has consistently denied the charges, and his defense lawyers said they would appeal the ruling on Thursday.
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