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Old 06-16-2020, 12:16 AM   #31
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https://balkaninsight.com/2019/11/20...dants-release/
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November 20, 2019

The Appeals Court in Skopje spoke out on Wednesday in defence of judges who approved the conditional release from prison of the country’s former chief special prosecutor Katica Janeva, after the prosecutor leading the case threatened to have them investigated for foul play. In a written statement after an extraordinary session, the Appeals Court said the conduct of Organised Crime Chief Prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska represented “a direct threat and crude interference in the work of the court.” The Court had approved a request, on health grounds, for Katica Janeva to be released from prison and transferred to house arrest. Janeva, one of three people charged in the so-called ‘Extortion’ case that has rocked North Macedonia since the summer, was transferred on Tuesday. Janeva, who led North Macedonia’s special prosecution office, is accused of taking tens of thousands of euros in bribes. She was taken into custody in August but denies the charges. The trial is set to begin on December 3. Responding to her release from prison, Ruskoska told Deutsche Welle: “This is disgraceful. What kind of message are we sending with this decision? Let us not forget that this is a very specific case and is being monitored by the international public.” Ruskoska threatened to instigate a financial probe into the three Appeals Court judges who took the decision. “There’s no EU with these kinds of judges,” she said, in apparent reference to EU pressure to root out corrupt judges before a country can advance to accession. The Extortion case is widely seen as a litmus test of North Macedonia’s judicial system and commitment rule of law.In its own response, the Appeals Court alleged Ruskoska had sent a threatening SMS message on Tuesday evening to one of the judges in which allegedly threatened the judge with a financial investigation. Such “indecent” behaviour, the Court wrote, “breaches the principle of judicial independence” and can harm North Macedonia’s EU integration aspirations. The State Prosecutor’s Office, of which Ruskoska’s Organised Crime Prosecution is a part, waded into the row on Wednesday with a statement saying that, while it “respects and does not interfere in the work of the courts”, Ruskoska’s words should be seen “as an expression of momentary disappointment” following news of Janeva’s release. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who has been widely criticised for not yet fulfilling a 2016 election promise to vet judges, declined to comment on the row on Wednesday.
https://balkaninsight.com/2019/11/22...s-big-bonuses/
Quote:
November 22, 2019

Katica Janeva, currently under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of receiving bribes, received more than 150,000 euros in bonuses and expenses on top of her still-secret official salary, according to data dug up by BIRN from a database of budget expenditures between 2010 and 2017. Janeva received most of the money in the form of bonuses for confidentiality, obliging her to keep secret the mountains of classified information she was privy to in the course of sifting through thousands of wiretaps received by the ruling Social Democrats when they were in opposition in 2015. Her first confidentiality bonus was paid out in November 2015, with payments varying between 1,600 euros and 4,000 euros. The sums were paid out roughly, but not always, monthly – 46 payments in the 46 months she spent in office. She also received 400 euros per month to cover the rent for her accommodation in the capital, Skopje, and 42 euros per month for working outside her hometown of Gevgelija, near the border with Greece. Janeva was the first head of North Macedonia’s Special Prosecution, formed in 2015 to investigate high-level crime. Her salary was kept confidential, and, like the earnings of other public sector employees, is not included in the Finance Ministry database published on Wednesday. Confidentiality bonuses are envisaged in the law that established the Special Prosecution. Sources who spoke to BIRN under condition of anonymity said Janeva herself determined the size of the individual payments. The database reveals that other Special Prosecution employees also received confidentiality bonuses, though they were all smaller than those paid to Janeva. Janeva is accused of taking tens of thousands of euros in bribes as part of a high-profile case dubbed ‘Extortion’ and that has rocked North Macedonia since the summer. She was taken into custody in August but denies the charges. The trial is set to begin on December 3.
https://balkaninsight.com/2019/11/26...ution-offices/
Quote:
November 26, 2019

The Prosecution for Organised Crime confirmed to the national news agency MIA that it sent its own investigators into the Special Prosecution, SJO, premises on Tuesday. The prosecution said that the investigators were searching for financial documents and data. The move came after BIRN published a report on Friday that Janeva, who is currently under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of receiving bribes, had received more than 150,000 euros in bonuses and expenses on top of her still-secret official salary. The figure is based on data extracted by BIRN from a recently-released database of budget expenditures between 2010 and 2017. Janeva received most of the money in the form of bonuses for confidentiality, obliging her to keep secret the classified information to which she was privy in the course of sifting through thousands of secretly wiretapped conversations that were received by the ruling Social Democrats when they were in opposition in 2015. The same database showed that other SJO prosecutors and employees have also received bonuses in lesser amounts. “Only financial documents are being taken. This is [part of] a pre-investigation procedure which was opened as a right of office, after the amount of the bonuses was published. If we determine that there is ground for criminal deeds, we will open an investigation into the bonuses,” North Macedonia’s Chief Public Prosecutor Ljubomir Jovevski told media. Confidentiality bonuses were envisaged in the law that established the Special Prosecution, with the amounts determined based on various risk factors, and were in line with what similarly-ranked officials in neighbouring countries also receive as bonuses, sources from the Special Prosecution told Deutsche Welle on Tuesday on condition of anonymity. “To determine of the sums… the potential danger to which the special prosecutors and the employees were exposed also played a role,” the sources told Deutsche Welle. Janeva is accused of taking tens of thousands of euros in bribes as part of a high-profile case dubbed ‘Extortion’ that has rocked North Macedonia since the summer. She was taken into custody in August but denies the charges. The trial is set to begin on December 3.
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:22 AM   #32
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https://balkaninsight.com/2019/12/03...with-surprise/
Quote:
December 3, 2019

The trial of three people in the case which has shaken North Macedonia since the summer opened on Tuesday at Skopje Criminal Court, with one of the accused, businessman Zoran Milevski, unexpectedly pleading guilty. “Yes, I feel guilt,” Milevski told the court, adding that he was aware of the consequences and was admitting guilt “consciously and without any pressures”. Former chief special prosecutor Katica Janeva pleaded not guilty. “I don’t feel the slightest guilt,” Janeva told the court. Janeva is charged with misuse of office. She faces at least three years in jail if convicted. The first accused in the case, the entertainer-turned-businessman Bojan Jovanovski, alias Boki 13, also pleaded not guilty. Jovanovski is charged on two counts – taking bribes and money-laundering. His potential sentence is up to ten years for taking bribes, plus up to ten years on top of that for money-laundering. The third accused, Jovanovski’s partner, Zoran Milevski, who pleaded guilty, is charged with taking a bribe. The trial started with a one-hour delay because Jovanovski initially complained of having nausea and not being able to follow and participate in the trial. After a brief medical examination, the judge allowed the trial to start. The trial has drawn vast media attention in North Macedonia, as some media outlets have already called it “the [court] process of the year” because it deals with the downfall of Janeva, who was formerly praised for leading the Special Prosecution. The Special Prosecution was established in 2015 amid a political crisis centred around widespread corruption allegations and seen as a spearhead for restoring hope in the country’s discredited judiciary. Under the charges, that the Organized Crime Prosecution filed in October, Jovanovski used his influence with Janeva during the period of November 2018 to April 2019, when she was head of the Special Prosecution, to get businessman Orce Kamcev out of detention and regain his passport. Kamcev was in detention at the time as a suspect in an investigation codenamed ‘Empire’, instigated by Janeva’s own office, the Special Prosecution. Milevski had meanwhile been arranging contacts between Jovanovski and Kamcev’s wife, and later with Kamcev himself, assuring them of Jovanovski’s influence with Janeva. The charges further state that Kamcev’s wife paid half a million euros, after which Janeva proposed that Kamcev be transferred to house arrest – which the court then accepted. When the second tranche of money came, another one million euros, Janeva gave consent for Kamcev’s passport to be temporarily returned to him. On this occasion, the prosecution alleged that Janeva took 50,000 euros for herself, plus furniture costing about 5,000 euros. The prosecution claims that the rest of the money, 1.5 million euros, went to Jovanovski and Milevski. According to previous statements, Janeva’s defence will try to dispute the charges pressed against her by insisting that all of her actions were in line with her duty as chief prosecutor, and that she made contact with the businessman Kamcev not to extort money but to try to negotiate his cooperation with the prosecution as a possible witness. Her lawyers are also complaining of obstruction of her right for defence, claiming that ahead of the trial, they only received part of the evidence laid against her by the prosecution. The case hit the headlines when Jovanovski and Milevski were arrested in July. Jovanovski has been in detention ever since while Milevski was subsequently released to house arrest. Janeva was detained in August and also placed in detention. She has denied wrongdoing. She was put under house arrest in November, causing an angry reaction from the head of the Organised Crime Prosecution, Vilma Ruskoska, which has been in charge of the case. The case has been rocking the political scene as well, amid allegations that high-ranking government and ruling Social Democratic party officials may have been involved in this or similar racketeering or money-laundering schemes. In October, the prosecution opened up a fresh investigation into Jovanovski and four new suspects, which centres around suspected illegal dealings and fraud within Jovanovski’s humanitarian NGO, the International Alliance. One of the new suspects who was grilled in court was the vice-president of parliament, a senior politician in Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s ruling Social Democratic party, Frosina Remenski. She was a former honorary president of the NGO and she also denied any wrongdoing.
https://balkaninsight.com/2019/12/04...-jail-verdict/
Quote:
December 4, 2019

In the first verdict of the high-profile trial that has gripped North Macedonia, the Criminal Court in Skopje on Wednesday found businessman Zoran Milevski guilty of taking a bribe and jailed him for three years in a first-instance verdict that he can appeal. He had faced a maximum sentence of ten years. Chief Organised Crime Prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska told the media she was fairly satisfied with the result. “The issued sentence is all right, and I will decide later whether to appeal it. I did not expect a longer sentence because … he had not been sentenced before and had admitted guilt.” Milevski, the least well known of the trio on trial in the so-called “Extortion” case, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial on Tuesday. He was the only one to do so. Much more attention, in this case, has focused on former Chief Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva, the second accused, and on the showman-turned-businessman Bojan Jovanovski, alias Boki 13, the first accused. They both pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. Janeva is charged with misuse of office and faces at least three years in jail if convicted. Jovanovski is charged on two counts – of taking bribes and of money-laundering. He faces a sentence of up to ten years for taking bribes, plus up to ten years more for money-laundering. The trial has drawn enormous attention in North Macedonia, where some media outlets have called it the “process of the year”, mainly because Janeva, ironically, formerly ran the Special Prosecution office established to stamp out high-level crime. The Special Prosecution was established in 2015 amid a political crisis centred around corruption allegations and was seen as a way to restore faith in the country’s discredited judiciary. Under charges that the Organised Crime Prosecution filed in October, Jovanovski used his influence with Janeva from November 2018 to April 2019, while she headed the Special Prosecution, to get Kamcev out of detention and regain his passport in exchange for 1.5 million euros in compensation. Kamcev was detained at the time as a suspect in another investigation codenamed “Empire”, instigated by Janeva’s own Special Prosecution office. Milevski had meanwhile been arranging contacts between Jovanovski and Kamcev’s wife, and later with Kamcev himself, assuring them of Jovanovski’s influence with Janeva.
https://balkaninsight.com/2019/12/06...tortion-trial/
Quote:
December 6, 2019

In a lengthy testimony before Skopje’s Criminal Court, which lasted for more than five hours, businessman Orce Kamcev supported the prosecution’s claim in the “Extortion” case that he had been a victim of extortion by the showman-turned-politician Bojan Jovanovski, former chief Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva and another businessman, Zoran Milevski, who was sentenced to jail on Wednesday after admitting guilt. Jovanovski is charged with using his influence with Janeva from November 2018 to April 2019, while she headed the Special Prosecution, SJO, to get Kamcev out of detention and regain his passport. Kamcev was detained at the time as a suspect in an investigation codenamed “Empire”, instigated by Janeva’s Special Prosecution office. Kamcev insisted to the court that he was put in detention after he refused to pay money to Jovanovski that he had requested on several occasions. The SJO launched the “Empire” investigation in November 2018. In it, Kamcev – who Forbes named as North Macedonia’s wealthiest person in 2016 – and former secret police chief Saso Mijalkov were among 13 persons suspected of criminal association, fraud, money laundering and other crimes, allegedly committed between 2002 and 2013. Kamcev is still a suspect in the case and his passport is still taken from him. He told the court that the case against him was “shamefully constructed”. He said that during the first hearing before the Special Prosecution, Janeva had implicitly mentioned his dealings with Jovanovski, suggesting that he should cooperate with him. “I saw that the situation was serious and that there was no justice, and I understood that this was bullying,” Kamcev said.
He added that in the eyes of the public at that time he was now seen as a criminal, while Janeva still enjoyed the reputation of a crime fighter. Kamcev had offered a guarantee amounting to 14 million euros so that he could be released to house detention, but the prosecution rejected the offer. Kamcev said that this was done so that Jovanovski and Janeva “could nibble” away at his fortune “like hyenas”. Ending his court testimony, Kamcev told the media that he would demand back all of the 1.5 million euros that he gave to the accused. He said that further evidence laid before the court would determine whether Jovanovski or Janeva were the masterminds behind the extortion scheme. The trial has drawn enormous attention in North Macedonia, where some media outlets have called it the “process of the year”, mainly because Janeva, ironically, formerly ran the Special Prosecution office established to stamp out high-level crime. She is charged with misuse of office and faces at least three years in jail if convicted. Jovanovski is charged on two counts – of taking bribes and of money-laundering. He faces a sentence of up to ten years for taking bribes, plus up to ten years more for money-laundering.
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:44 AM   #33
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https://balkaninsight.com/2020/01/29...tortion-trial/

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January 29, 2020

As the high-profile “Extortion” trial continued in North Macedonia on Wednesday, a witness recalled the furnishings obtained by the now-disgraced head of the Special Prosecution Office, SJO, Katica Janeva. The leather sofa and accompanying furniture seized during the arrest of the former chief Special Prosecutor in August were personally picked by showman–turned-businessman Bojan Jovanovski – and his private 1TV station was supposed to pay the 5000-euro bill, but never did, the manager of the furniture company testified. Lidija Mladenovic, manager of Zona Mebel, recognised the seized furniture among the photo evidence shown on Wednesday in the court, adding that the bill for them was never paid. In the trial in North Macedonia, Jovanovski, alias Boki 13, is the first accused while former Chief Special Prosecutor Janeva is the second. Janeva is charged with misuse of office and faces at least three years in jail if convicted. Jovanovski is charged with taking bribes and with money-laundering, and faces up to ten years in jail for taking bribes, plus up to ten more years for money-laundering. Some media outlets have called it the “trial of the year”, mainly because Janeva, ironically, formerly ran the office that was established to stamp out high-level crime. Locally famous quiz show host Lila Filipovska, a former close friend of Jovanovski’s, also testified in the court on Wednesday. Insisting that they were no longer friends, Filipovska was in the same vehicle along with two other persons when Jovanovski was arrested last summer near a border crossing with neighbouring Greece. While media speculated that Jovanovski had been arrested while trying to flee the country, Filipovska insisted that they were only going on vacation to Mykonos in Greece. “Bojan planned the vacation. He said that everything was organised, probably paid in advance. I never got to find out,” she told the court. Back when they were good friends, Filipovska said she had donated cash and lent money to Jovanovski’s TV station on two occasions. “He asked me for a 20-000-euro donation for 1 TV and I gave it to help him. In August 2018, I also loaned 500,000 denars [about 8,000 euro] paid to the account of BJM Media Group, the owner of the TV,” she said. After the prosecution noted that before lending the 500,000 denars to Jovanovski, this sum was transferred to her own account, she insisted that the money was her own, denying that she had been part of a money-laundering scheme. “No one transferred me money so I could then transfer it to the TV. I told the Organised Crime Prosecution this as well,” Stojanovska told the court. Appeal Court judge Meri Dika, an old friend of Javanovski’s mother, also testified. After the prosecution attempted to find out what they had purchased during their trip to Milan, in 2019, she gave only vague answers, saying that they spent a lot, as she knew that Jovanovski was financially well off. The session ended with Jovanovski threatening to file 19 criminal charges, including against the Organised Crime Prosecution head Vilma Ruskoska, for an alleged crime worth 4 million euros. He did not give any more details. According to the charges, Jovanovski used his influence with Janeva from November 2018 to April 2019, when she was head of the SJO, to get a businessman, Orce Kamcev, out of detention and regain his passport. Kamcev was in detention as a suspect in an investigation codenamed “Empire”, instigated by Janeva’s own office. Earlier this week, the trial heard testimonies from two prosecutors, Lile Stefanova and Burim Rustemi, who said that their former boss, Janeva, had sought a financial settlement and giving up charges in two cases run by her former subordinates, including the case codenamed “Empire” in which Kamcev was a suspect. The questioning of the witnesses is now over. From Thursday, the evidence, including video and audio recordings of the accused, will be presented.


https://balkaninsight.com/2020/02/12...ges-from-zaev/

Quote:
February 12, 2020

In the ongoing court case that has gripped North Macedonia, codenamed Extortion, Prosecutor Ivana Trajceva on Tuesday presented messages that the main suspect, the showman-turned-businessman Bojan Jovanovski, sent to the Prime Minister, among other people, found in his seized electronic devices. In the messages, sent in April 2019, a month before the Organised Crime Prosecution launched its investigation into the case, Jovanovski expressed his wish to meet then then Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader, Zoran Zaev, insisting that he had never “misused” his name – presumably to extort money from other people. According to the evidence, Zaevs response was cold. “I have seen the evidence. I am bitter and [am about] to make serious decisions. These things are awful and as a Prime Minister I am obliged to act,” one message with Zaev’s name on it said. Another message reveals that Zaev wrote to tell Jovanovski that, “We will see and confront each other. This is a clear extortion. I have seen the evidence.” Jovanovski, alias Boki 13, is the first accused in the trial. The second is Katica Janeva, former head of the now almost defunct Special Prosecution Office, SJO, which was established, ironically, to probe high-level crime. According to the charges, Jovanovski used his influence with Janeva from November 2018 to April 2019, while she headed the SJO, to get the businessman Orce Kamcev out of detention and regain his passport. Kamcev was then in detention as a suspect in another investigation, codenamed “Empire”, instigated by Janeva’s office. The “Extortion” affair rocked the Zaev government amid speculation that Jovanovski, who was seen as close to the political elite and was the informal owner of a now defunct TV station, 1TV, which supported the government, could not have embarked on his extortion scheme without the knowledge or even involvement of the government. Zaev has insisted he had nothing to do with it, and that he was the one who reported the case to the prosecution in the first place, having seen some of the evidence against Jovanovski and Janeva, which Kamcev allegedly presented to him. However, the prosecution in January filed criminal charges against one high-profile member of his Social Democratic Party, SDSM, the vice president of parliament, Frosina Remenski, as part of a fresh case linked to the “Extortion” case. The new case focuses on the dealings of Jovanovski’s humanitarian charity, the International Alliance, with which Remenski was linked. Otherwise it is practically an extension of the “Extortion” case. Remensi is the third accused in this case, charged with assisting fraud. Jovanovski is again the first accused. Zaev stepped down as Prime Minister in January to pave the way for the formation of a caretaker government, which includes ministers from the opposition, tasked with organising the April 12 early general elections.
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:50 AM   #34
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Whatever happened as a result of this audio recording? I suppose much was swept under the rug when COVID-19 became an issue.
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Originally Posted by nushevski77 View Post
Zaev audio leaks showing himself responsible for the abuses to judiciary

https://youtu.be/_AmnetALqwg

VMRO-DPMNE: Audio leaks prove that Zaev is responsible for abuses perpetrated by the judiciary
https://english.republika.mk/news/ma...acket-scandal/
Quote:
12.02.2020

The publication of an audio recording of Zoran Zaev in the Parliament today blew a huge hole in his claims that he had only a passing acquaintance with Bojan Jovanovski – Boki 13, the extravagant businessman who is now charged in a major racketeering case. VMRO-DPMNE member of Parliament Antonio Milososki published the recording, which he says he received from a whistleblower. It shows Zaev discussing Boki 13’s business, saying how he was in touch with him, talked about his 1TV television and how it is being funded. Zaev specifically says that Boki 13 received the moneyfor the television from a friend in Croatia and from businessman Siljan Micevski, who was the target of extortion by Boki 13. This shows that, at the very least, Zaev was informed of Boki 13’s actions, if not directly involved in it. For good measure, Zaev adds that he helped Boki 13’s TV on several occasions. 1TV was used as a vehicle for extortion – Boki 13 and his and Zaev’s close friend Katica Janeva would reassure businessmen to buy overpriced ad campaigns in the television which was only set up shortly after Zaev grabbed power in 2017, ironically using illegally recorded phone conversations to spark a political crisis. Janeva’s son Lazar was employed as chief marketing officer in the television, and given her powerful position and ability to drag anybody before the court on flimsy charges, it made 1TV’s ad offers difficult to resist.

The audio recording confirms the suspicions that there were criminal deals made between Zoran Zaev and Bojan Jovanovski. In it, Zoran Zaev admits that he is funding 1TV, VMRO-DPMNE said in a press release issued today, and the party leader Hristijan Mickoski said that it is now absolutely clear who is at the top of the Racket scandal.

Zaev has insisted that as soon as he realized what Boki 13 is up to, he informed state prosecutors. Earlier this week, during one of the Racket hearings, the prosecution did all it could to support this position by selectively releasing a message from Boki 13’s phone, which meant to show exactly that. Meanwhile, Boki asks that the entirety of his communications are released and has hinted he may start talking and give his side of the scandal in which it is widely assumed that most of the money flowed toward Zaev and his SDSM party. Zaev and many of his lieutenants were frequent visitors on 1TV. The television parroted SDSM talking points and hired a number of well paid SDSM supporting journalists from other outlets. Yesterday, during a press conference where he was touting the conveniently presented text message, Zaev said that he is not responsible for Boki 13, that he never asked him to support SDSM through his TV station, and that he will be held responsible if he has violated the law. But the audio today, and the expected release of more like it, instantly collapsed any enthusiasm which Zaev is trying to drum up over the latest step in Macedonia’s lengthy NATO accession process. Even the elections are again thrown in doubt, as Zaev demands tha tthe Parliaement is not dissolved until it adopts a new law on state prosecutors, which he hopes will sweep the mess caused by Katica Janeva under the rug. The law would, also conveniently, prohibit state prosecutors from using unwarranted wiretaps, like the one revealed by Milososki today, as evidence before the court.
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:30 AM   #35
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Video: Doncev taking bribe, confirms Zaev involved in Racket

URL:
https://www.minareport.com/2020/06/2...ved-in-racket/

New audio and video bombs of former director of the Healthcare Fund Den Doncev have been published on YouTube. One video shows Doncev taking a pile of money, while others also reveal conversations related to the racketeering of the “Diamed” company.

All videos together reveal that Den Doncev not only took money, but also confirms that he was in full coordination with the then Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

The first audio features the former director of the Healthcare Fund, Den Doncev, bragging that he is in constant communication with the director of the financial intelligence Blazo Trendafilov, who Doncev himself claims was a close friend of Zoran Zaev and that is why he put him on that position.

The talks also reveal that Doncev was coordinating the “Racket 2” case, ie the entering of the “Diamed” company, which in turn accused the government of racketeering.

As a reminder, Vera Ivanova, a businesswoman who sold “Diamed” to a Swedish company with a 20-year license for dialysis, filed criminal charges against Health Minister Venko Filipce and Healthcare Fund Director Den Doncev a few months ago. Ivanova’s lawyer claims that they prevented the sale to a foreign investor, which caused damage to both the businesswoman and the state.

At the end of last year, Slovenian Nova24 TV reported that Zoran Mileski Kiceec had called Vera Ivanova, the victim in the “Racket 2” affair, to blackmail her, saying that if she did not change her mind about selling her “Diamed” company, an investigation would be launched against her.

Only a day later, on October 26, corrupt prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska announced that her office was investigating the work of the “Diamed” company. Two weeks later, a bigger shock followed. The Prosecutor’s Office froze the assets of the owner of “Diamed”, about 11 million euros, acquired from the sale of the company to the Swedish strategic partner, Nova24 TV reported.

In the third of the audio bombs published today, Doncev is nervous because the lawyer of Zoran Zaev, Filip Medarski, gets also involved in the game.
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:17 AM   #36
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It is undoubtedly something quite serious, but it takes a long time and it is resolved this complicated
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:41 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by beatrisma66 View Post
It is undoubtedly something quite serious, but it takes a long time and it is resolved this complicated
Hello. Welcome to the forum. Can you elaborate on the second part of your sentence so we can better understand the point you're making?
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:08 PM   #38
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https://balkaninsight.com/2020/07/01...ecame-history/
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July 1, 2020

The now defunct Special Prosecution has passed into legal history, leaving only memories of an ambitious attempt to dismantle North Macedonia’s ‘captured state’. With the entry into force of a new Law on the Prosecution in North Macedonia, voted in March, arguably one of the most important institutions in the recent history of this country, the Special Prosecution, SJO, has ceased to exist. Formed amid a deep political crisis under international mediation in 2015, and tasked with tackling grave allegations of top-level crime in government, the SJO set new professional standards and initially enjoyed huge support. Praised for standing up to then ruling VMRO DPMNE party and its authoritarian leader, Nikola Gruevski, hopes were high that the SJO would put an end to the widespread culture of crime and corruption. But over the past few years, this image began to fade – and so did the hope that its many unfinished cases would see a legal conclusion. The SJO’s credibility was finally tarnished beyond repair by the “Extortion” scandal that broke out last summer. That saw the SJO’s chief prosecutor, Katica Janeva, charged and sent to jail for misuse of office in a first-instance verdict. All that was then left was to organize the SJO’s political burial, which came in the form of the Prosecution Law, which has closed it for good, and transferred its ongoing cases to the regular prosecution.

In February 12, 2016, the newly formed SJO held its famous first press conference amid extraordinary media interest, at which it revealed the launch of its first investigation, codenamed Titanic. The association of the name was clear – crime and lawlessness were about to sink to the bottom of the proverbial ocean. “Justice will win, despite the hardships and threats coming from certain political parties,” SJO chief Janeva boldly declared. It was a bold move also to demand the detention of eight persons in relation to the case, concerning alleged electoral fraud – and for none other than Prime Minister Gruevski himself and some of his closest associates. The courts later rejected the demand. At that time, Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE party still held a firm grip in power, though Brussels had already deemed North Macedonia’s institutions as “captured” by his party, and massive anti-government protests nicknamed “The Colourful Revolution” were being held daily in the capital, Skopje, and in other places. At similar press conferences held over the years that followed, the SJO revealed more investigations against top officials, all beginning with the letter T – which in the Macedonian language is described as the “explosive consonant”.

Tvrdina [Fortress], Torture, TNT, Tenders, and others followed, cementing the SJO’s reputation as an institution determined to put an end to crime. The energetic press appearance starring the three female prosecutors, Janeva, Lence Ristoska and Fatime Fetai, who became the faces of the SJO and gained celebrity status, began to cause euphoria among the public and on social media. Understandably perhaps, after years of institutional silence, some of their statements bordered on the “tabloidization” of serious cases, prompting some to question whether Janeva and her team would truly deliver results at the end. Regardless, the three prosecutors, who one later BBC article nicknamed “Charlie’s Angels”, after the legendary TV crime series, began overshadowing the country’s politicians. News bulletins would open with their statements, and journalists often waited long in the night for the court epilogues to their requests for the detention of top figures. Much of the public saw the SJO as taking a defiant stand against their “captured state” and the many institutions that refused to cooperate with it, refusing to disclose information, or offer other help. The SJO prosecutors were fined for just about everything, but that did not stop them from opening new cases, some of which had been lying in the legal drawers untouched for years.

Their first investigations shook the very foundations of the state, which by then had spent more than ten years under Gruevski’s rule. People felt new hope for justice. The slogan of the “colourful revolution” – “No Justice No Peace”, was the slogan under which the struggle for justice was fired, and the trio of Katica, Lence and Fatime remained on their popular throne. In early 2017, as the fall of the Gruevski regime loomed, the SJO was finally transferred to its permanent offices in Skopje. By then, its teams were almost fully formed and the volume of work, based on thousands of incriminating wiretaps it had obtained about the Gruevski government, increased. Hundreds of witnesses, suspects and accused were summoned for conversations, including top officials who in the past had hardly ever frequented a courtroom, despite sometimes facing charges. Gruevski, his cousin, the former secret police chief, Saso Mijalkov, former transport minister Mile Janakieski and former police minister Gordana Jankuloska were just some of the people who had previously been seen as untouchable, but who had to show up for informative questionings before the SJO.

Because of the charges laid against them, these same people later became frequent visitors to the Skopje Criminal Court, where each day there were three, four or more hearings in relation to SJO cases. In one example, that speaks of the volume of work, in just one day in 2017, the SJO filed charges in 17 cases, sending huge boxes of evidence material to the court. But during all this time, even after VMRO DPMNE was ousted from power in mid-2017, two great dangers hung over the SJO. The first was the 18-month deadline to press charges, which was a provision inserted into the law on the SJO on the insistence of the VMRO DPMNE party. That law gave the SJO five years to investigate wiretaps but only 18 months from its launch to press charges. That deadline expired on June 30, 2017. Despite promises by the former opposition and now ruling Social Democrats, due to a VMRO DPMNE party blockade in parliament, it was never extended. By the time this deadline had expired, the SJO had pressed charges in 22 cases; BIRN’s analysis of the charges showed that the most frequent charge was misuse of office. The second danger to the SJO was an initiative submitted to the Constitutional Court questioning the constitutional grounds for the existence of the SJO as an independent institution apart from the regular prosecution.

While many then feared that the Constitutional Court could erase the SJO in one move, no one then imagined that the SJO’s demise would in fact come from a completely different place. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court initiative has ironically outlived the SJO – and still remains, without epilogue. Most of the SJO’s own cases, including the key ones, also remain without epilogue. Its first investigation, Titanic, which concerned alleged electoral fraud by the former ruling party is still in the trial phase. The trial in another key case, Talir, concerning Gruevski and some of his top party officials, suspected of illegally financing the VMRO DPMNE party, only started in March this year. Arguably, the most important case of all, Target-Tvrdina [Target-Fortress], which aimed to reveal who stood behind the massive illegal wiretapping scandal centred on the Gruevski government – in which former secret police chief Mijalkov is one of the accused – is also nowhere near completion. The evidence in the case is still being presented. This opens the question about whether the SJO, with its ten prosecutors and well-funded team, should have pressed so many charges, or, instead focused on the most important cases.

While this dilemma remains in the realm of speculation, one thing is sure. The SJO’s team, with its unprecedented autonomy and high budget compared to other judicial institutions, showed what an institution on the front line against crime should look like. In contrast to their colleagues in the regular prosecutions, who have to wait in line for an investigator and administrative worker and have to rely on the good will of the police, some SJO prosecutors had teams of up to five investigators, which greatly boosted their effectiveness. Furthermore, the SJO kept the wiretapped materials in separate safes and under special security protocols. The way the cases were led allowed electronic records from each document received or sent by the SJO to be kept. Although in the past few years some of the wiretaps continued to be published, none of the material kept in the SJO was leaked to the public. Unlike other regular prosecutions, the SJO was also present on social networks, issuing frequent updates about its work, which at one time strengthened the trust it enjoyed among people. The public got reports about the SJO’s work every six months and heard updates about ongoing cases at the regular press conferences, including anonymous excepts from charges, the introductory and end speeches in courts, schedules of court trials and in some case graphical presentations that explained more complex cases.

All of this remains a “luxury” for the regular prosecutions. From the start, the SJO also had a known logo; its cases were not listed by numbers but were codenamed and so made much more recognizable for the public. Even today, googling SJO reveals over 2.6 million texts, analyses and videos containing the abbreviation of this now defunct institution, testimony to the enormous public interest in its work. The standards and efficiency the SJO set remain unmatched to this day by any other institution in the country. But the positive story did not last. As time passed, expectations about the SJO and its “special” status began to fade, along with the people’s trust. The first fatal blow came in January 2019 when the Supreme Court issued an “opinion” that the SJO had no longer the right to press new charges after its 18-month deadline had expired. This put the SJO in limbo, because the political provision that might have dealt with this problem remained stuck in never-ending talks between the government and the opposition – which refused to allow a vote on extending its life in parliament.

But the origins of its downfall predated that. Ever since late 2018 and early 2019, when the SJO, to the surprise of many, responded positively to the demand for release from detention of the wealthy businessman Orce Kamcev and of the former secret police chief Mijalkov – and allowed them to get temporary passports – trust in the SJO begun to erode. Kamcev and Mijalkov were suspects in the SJO’s so-called “Empire” case that dealt with suspected criminal association, fraud and money laundering. At the same period, especially after SJO chief Janeva was linked to the showman-turned-businessman Bojan Jovanovski, mainly thanks to social posts revealing their friendship, public criticism intensified of the SJO chief’s apparently close ties to a character associated with many controversies. The final demise of the SJO came in the summer of 2019, with the eruption of the so-called “Extortion” scandal. In this case, wiretapped video and audio recordings released in social media fed allegations that Jovanovski had extorted money from Kamcev in exchange for persuading Janeva to release him from detention. By last autumn, Jovanovski, Janeva and Jovanovski’s business associate all found themselves charged in the “Extortion” case, and Janeva had to resign.

The trial ended in June with Janeva found guilty and receiving a first-instance sentence of seven years in jail for misuse of office. But regardless of her personal guilt, one dilemma remains: should the new Social Democrat-led government have thrown the entire SJO under the bus together with Janeva? The passage of the new Law on Prosecution in February, which envisaged the closure of the SJO and the transfer of its cases to the regular prosecution, ended all hope of rebooting the SJO under a new chief and finding another legal way to prolong its work. The SJO has left 19 investigations open, involving more than 100 suspects. But for more than a year, these investigations have been in de facto hibernation, so their fate is uncertain. After the Law on Prosecution entered into force on July 1, the SJO became a dead institution. The professionals who worked there are now reassigned to their previous posts in the regular prosecutions.

Despite their formal reassignment, they stayed in the SJO building until the last day. SJO employees told BIRN that during the last days of this institution, in an atmosphere of disappointment and apathy, they were mainly busy organising the clusters of documents, computers and offices they were leaving behind. While the SJO now just a memory of an attempt to re-establish the rule of law, its unfinished cases are now, ironically, in the hands of the same regular state prosecutions that were not long ago widely mocked as servants of the politicians and as representatives of a “captured” state. The abiding public perception now is that no government in North Macedonia ever really wanted a truly strong and independent prosecution. The SJO, which failed to overcome the many political storms that struck it, remains just a living memory of a doomed struggle for justice. Its epitaph might well read: “We tried.”
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:05 PM   #39
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Lile Delidzakova apparently submitted incomplete documentation and somehow became the VP of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Macedonia. She also happens to be the sister of Katica Janeva, but Zaev claims not to have known this at the time, which is obviously a lie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrFfCfQyp5c
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