Gruevski Fled Macedonia 'to Avoid Assassination'

In his first TV appearance since he escaped from Macedonia to Hungary in November last year, former Macedonian prime minister and former VMRO DPMNE party leader Nikola Gruevski said he fled from Macedonia after "reliable sources" warned him that the new government was plotting to assassinate him.

"At first, I was planning to go to jail … but in the last days [before he was due to start serving his sentence] I received information about my planned liquidation in jail, not immediately but after a certain period, so I changed my mind," Gruevski told Macedonian TV Sitel in Hungary, in an interview aired on Saturday.

He did not disclose any motive for his alleged murder, but said he received the information from "reliable sources" and from "persons well informed about the conditions inside the jail".

Gruevski was found guilty of the illicit purchase of a luxury limousine. He was supposed to report to start serving his two-year jail term on November 9, 2018, but failed to do so.

He escaped to neighbouring Albania and, with the help of Hungarian diplomats, managed to reach Budapest and apply for asylum there.

Gruevski, whose passport had been confiscated at the time of the escape, said he crossed over into neighbouring Albania "very simply". He refused to clarify whether he had exited Macedonia via a legal border crossing.

"The [Macedonian] authorities boast that they will uncover everything, so let them do that," Gruevski answered ironically.

Gruevski said that once he reached Albania, he asked the Hungarian embassy in Tirana for political asylum in Hungary, after which Hungarian officials assisted his trip to Budapest. He denied having contacted the Hungarian authorities before the escape.


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