Former prime minister Nikola Gruevski was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison for money laundering and unlawful acquisition and concealment of property in the ‘Vodno Lots” case, writes news agency MIA.
The Skopje-based Criminal Court delivered two-year conditional sentences for Gruevski’s best man Risto Kovachevski and businessman Nenad Josifovikj, while businessman Orce Kamchev was given a one-year prison sentence for money laundering.
In addition, former secret police chief Sasho Mijalkov got a year-and-three-month prison term for supporting money laundering and other proceeds of crime. According to the indictment, defendant Nikola Gruevski appropriated EUR 1,3 million in period 2006-2012 from party donations, using it for the purchase of a land of about 11,000m2 at the Vodno hill above Skopje by asking Mijalkov to help him in securing the land and conceal the origin of the funds.
Mijalkov got in touch with Josifovikj, owner of an off-shore company in Belize, who agreed over the set up of a firm that would serve as the land’s purchasing entity. Novachevski was placed as the company manager. After agreeing on the purchasing price, the money was transferred on several occasions from the Belize firm to the Skopje-based company, with Novachevski signing sales contracts with the land owners and paying EUR 1,2 million in the process.
In 2015, the City of Skopje general urban plan was amended and the lots were repurposed for building, whereas the share of the Belize firm was transferred to the name of Joordan Kamchev and his mother Ratka.
In addition, Gruevski concealed property he acquired while holding a public office by providing incomplete data in the asset declaration, which did not include two apartments in Skopje, a construction land of 2,729 m2 in downtown Skopje and two construction lots in Krushevo, because they were fictitiously registered to Novachevski.