Court Freezes Macedonian Opposition's Property Assets
The right-wing VMRO DPMNE opposition party cannot sell or rent its lavish 'white palace' HQ in central Skopje, nor many of its other real-estate assets across the country, until the end of the major money-laundering case codenamed 'Talir', the Special Prosecution, SJO told BIRN on Thursday.
Skopje Criminal Court issued this ruling on Wednesday, the sources said.
The move comes just days after VMRO DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski told Macedonian media that the party might decide to sell or rent its expensive HQ in Skopje to cut costs.
The so-called 'white palace' which after its opening in 2015 became a symbol of the former VMRO DPMNE regime, is part of an ongoing SJO investigation in which former Prime Minister and VMRO DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski, along with ten other top party officials, are suspected of illegally financing the party through money-laundering.
Gruevski, who resigned from the party helm last year, is suspected of accepting millions of euros of illegal donations for the party in his role as leader between 2009 and 2015, when he was also prime minister.
The SJO has said that the investigation has shown that instead of returning the money to the national budget, as illegal donations should be, Gruevski used the money to illegally finance his party and buy real estate, among other things.
According to the SJO, the party bought all of its now-frozen assets between 2013 and 2015.
The VMRO DPMNE under Gruevski led the government from 2006 until 2017, when it was ousted from power after a prolonged political crisis.
During that time, it was widely accused of authoritarian tendencies and of harbouring widespread corruption, which it denied.
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