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Fugitive ex-Macedonian PM hit with new criminal cases

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 05, 2018 shows former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski arriving at a courthouse in Skopje on October 5, 2018. – Macedonia’s former prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who has been sentenced to a two-year jail term for abuse of power, said on November 13, 2018, he was in Hungary where he has requested political asylum. Macedonian authorities on November 12, 2018, issued an arrest warrant for Gruevski, 48, after he failed to turn up to jail to serve his sentence. (Photo by Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP)

Macedonia prosecutors filed two new indictments Thursday against fugitive former premier Nikola Gruevski, who said this week he was granted asylum in Hungary after fleeing a two-year jail sentence in his homeland.

Gruevski, a former strongman close to Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, fled to Budapest earlier this month after being sentenced in Macedonia for abuse of power.

On Thursday, a special prosecution team appointed to probe alleged crimes committed by Greuvksi’s administration, submitted two new charges accusing him of “illegal financing” of his political party VMRO-DPMNE, and unlawful construction of its headquarters.

Between 2009 and 2015 Gruevski and others “provided finances from anonymous and illegal sources” to the party, prosecutors said in a statement.

He and a party official also allegedly secured “disproportionate benefit” of over eight million euros ($9.1 million) for the party in an illegal contract with a building company, it said.

Gruevski ruled Macedonia for nearly a decade until 2016, when evidence appearing to show a widespread wire-tapping scheme by his administration led to his downfall.

He has since been the target of a number of prosecutions and was found guilty earlier this year of using a luxury government Mercedes for personal travel.

On November 11, he pulled off a dramatic escape, passing through Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia before reaching Hungary, where he said this week he had been granted asylum.

Skopje has demanded his immediate return, while the EU is looking to Budapest for answers.

Gruevski claims he received death threats in Macedonia, which the government denies.

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