Court acquits Zaev in ‘Bribe’ case

Judge Darko Todorovski acquitted Monday Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in case dubbed “Bribe”.

While reading the judgment, the trial judge said the public prosecutor has not proved that the defendant committed the crime, resulting in an acquittal.

At the last hearing, prosecutor Valentina Bislimovska asked for a change of the indictment qualification from “receiving a bribe” into “asking for a bribe”, which stipulates a sentence of 1-5 years in prison. In comparison, the penalty for crime “receiving a bribe” is at least five years imprisonment.

Bislimovska said the evidence presented during the main hearing did not show that defendant Zaev received any money, which has been confirmed by the main witness Ivan Nikolov.

Zaev has said the case is politically motivated, aimed at preventing the release of the wiretapped conversations.

PM Zaev, in the capacity Strumica mayor, is charged of asking a EUR 160,000 bribe from a Strumica businessman for the privatization of construction land.