Court tactics with the charge in the “Thaler” case

Court tactics with the charge in the “Thaler” case
The Council for Evaluation of the Indictment before the holidays held a public session which considered the indictment of the “Thaler” case for the illegal financing of VMRO-DPMNE, but it has not yet decided whether to accept or not the charge for this case of the Special Public Prosecutor's Office.

Although some of the media have already announced that the indictment is positively assessed and that the first hearing will be scheduled shortly, however, the Criminal Court sent a statement yesterday that said that there is still no assessment.

The information that the indictment of the case in which former senior officials of VMRO-DPMNE are suspected, has not yet been assessed comes shortly before the vote on constitutional changes in Macedonia’s Parliament, for which the government needs a two-thirds majority that should be provided with votes from the opposition. VMRO-DPMNE interprets this as a pressure from the government to secure the required majority. The only current MP who can give an additional vote to the power, and is charged in this case, is VMRO-DPMNE’s MP Ilija Dimovski, but this is interpreted as a pressure on the entire party.

At the end of November, the Special Prosecutor's Office filed two charges in the Thaler case for illegal financing of the party and for the illegal construction of the new building. According to the SPO, the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski conducted the illegal activity and was assisted by Kiril Bozinovski, Mile Janakieski (the three were charged with abuse of office and money laundering), Ilija Dimovski, Leko Ristoski and Elizabeta Cingarovska (are charged for money laundering). Gruevski provided finance from anonymous and illegal sources of funding for VMRO-DPMNE. This money was transferred to the party’s bank account through payment forms with false data.

After the money was deposited in the account, Dimovski, Cingarovska, Ristoski and Janakieski, as authorized signatories of the account, although they knew that the money came from a criminal act, released them in further circulation by signing orders for payment of obligations and buying real estate. The court ordered detention for Gruevski, and Cingarovska was stripped of her passport.

The indictment for the construction of the headquarters of the political party VMRO-DPMNE was filed against Gruevski and Bozinovski, who, by abuse of office, enabled 'DH Beton AD Skopje' to build the party's headquarters, although the company had public procurement contracts at that time with state bodies and public institutions or enterprises contrary to the Law on Political Parties, the Law on Financing of Political Parties and the Law on Obligatory Relations. In order to achieve this goal, the defendants used the state of dependence in which the company was in, in relation to VMRO-DPMNE, given that over 75 percent of the revenues they made in 2011 and 2012 were from state authorities. Although the restrictions provided by the Law on Financing Political Parties applied to the company, the defendants agreed on a disproportionate benefit for VMRO-DPMNE in terms of obligations that Beton had, allowing it to build the party’s headquarters worth 6.9 million euros. At the request of the SPO, the Skopje Criminal Court froze the property of VMRO-DPMNE after leader Hristijan Mickoski announced that he plans to sell or rent out the party-based party headquarters. The Prty announced from the so-called "White Palace" that they would seek justice in Strasbourg. The main headquarters building and 68 other party offices owned by the largest opposition party are estimated at ten million euros.

The Hristo Tatarcev Palace was built by the Beton company after the party gave the property in the very center of Skopje. Beton, as it was announced at the time, committed itself to constructing the building and part of it to belong to VMRO-DPMNE, while the other part was to be a hotel.

After Gruevski's escape, two of the defendants, Bozinovski and Janakieski ended up in detention, and before the New Year's holidays the detention was replaced with house arrest.

(FFS)

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