North Macedonia’s President Demands Faster ‘Extortion’ Probe

Signalling his impatience with the unfolding "Extortion" scandal that has rocked North Macedonia in recent days, President Stevo Pendarovski on Monday called on prosecutors investigating it to "leave their summer vacations aside and get to work" in order to uncover the facts.

"When we have such a big affair, we cannot treat matters as usual, as the situation is not ordinary," Pendarovski said.

"From the aspect of the EU [the country hopes to get a start date for accession talks talks this autumn], we must not leave the slightest doubt among EU member states that we are not ready to deal with a case like this," the President remarked.

He called for an "effective, swift and thorough conclusion of the investigation, with respect for the principle of presumption of innocence".

Pendarovski also called on all political actors who might be implicated in the case to assume political responsibility and submit statements to the prosecution on their own initiative, to help the investigation.

The case has been unfolding rapidly since July 15, when the regular Prosecution for Organised Crime and Corruption opened an investigation into the businessman Bojan Jovanovski, and placed him and his suspected accomplice, Zoran Milevski, alias Zoki Kiceec, under arrest.

It also seized chief Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva's phones to check any suspicions that she had connections with them.

Jovanovski and Milevski are suspected of extorting money from a third person, the businessman Orce Kamcev, who is himself a suspect in another case run by the Special Prosecution, codenamed "Empire".

It is alleged that they took cash from Kamcev in exchange for a promise to help him either avoid a jail sentence, or get a lighter sentence, by using their...

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