Northern Macedonia has issued an international arrest warrant for former Security and Counterintelligence Director Sasho Miyalkov. He disappeared before a court ruling on his alleged involvement in a mass wiretapping scandal, the Associated Press reported.
Police searched several sites in Skopje in an attempt to find Sasho Miyalkov, but his whereabouts are unknown.
As expected, Miyalkov’s escape led to a new political crisis and a severe institutional war.
Miyalkov and 11 other former government and police officials are on trial in connection with the 2016 scandal that led to the fall of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE government after a decade in power.
Miyalkov, who is the first cousin of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, is accused of organizing the wiretapping of more than 20,000 people, including politicians, judges and journalists, between 2006 and 2016.
Miyalkov received a court order for house arrest before the court ruling, which is expected to be announced on Friday. However, he disappeared on Sunday from the address he told authorities.
His sudden disappearance is reminiscent of that of his cousin Nikola Gruevski, who fled the country in 2018 to avoid a two-year sentence for participating in a corruption scheme. He was granted political asylum in Hungary.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev he said he was disappointed with Miyalkov’s disappearance and demanded a full investigation into the case. The Macedonian prime minister expressed hope that the authorities would look for him. According to him, those who escaped must resign if Miyalkov is not found.
The President of Northern Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski yesterday called on all responsible institutions to take the necessary measures to arrest the fugitive former head of counterintelligence.
Such cases are unacceptable for a country that expects to start EU membership talks and is working hard to reform the judiciary and build confidence in the rule of law, he said.
According to Pendarovski, the case discredits efforts and hopes to tackle organized crime and high-level corruption.
Shortly after Miyalkov’s disappearance, a Facebook post appeared on his behalf, claiming that he had been forced to flee due to threats to his life and that he was currently in Monte Carlo, where he had sought asylum.
The announcement has not been officially confirmed yet.
The head of the prosecutor’s office for the fight against organized crime and corruption, Vilma Ruskovska told A1on that she had received operational information that Miyalkov was preparing to flee through a green corridor near the town of Kumanovo in neighboring Serbia.
She immediately shared this information with the Interior Ministry and the National Security Agency, but “there was no evidence of such an escape.”
Ruskovska described in detail how many conversations she had with Interior Ministry officials over 10 hours without any specific measures on their part.
Eventually, the search began shortly before 10 pm on Sunday, when Sasho Miyalkov was not found either in his home or in his usual places where he resides.
“This is a real disaster”
“This is a real disaster. It is very difficult to work when you do not have the support of others,” said Vilma Ruskovska.
“We lost a lot of time. These things should be done by the intelligence, not by the prosecutor’s office. We should receive information from them, not the other way around. If the intelligence has no information and the prosecutor’s office has it, then the logical question is whether they hid it. something … In this situation we had no reason to ask for an arrest “she added.
As expected, the on-duty quarrel between the opposition VMRO-DPMNE and the government of the Social Democrat Zoran Zaev followed.
Who is Sasho Miyalkov?
Sasho Miyalkov is considered the most influential person during the regime of Nikola Gruevski and one of the richest people. He was detained as soon as Gruevski fled, and several lawsuits were filed against him, including election fraud.
Until recently, Miyalkov was a member of the leadership of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE.
He led the counterintelligence from 2006 to May 12, 2015 and is believed to have controlled processes in politics, the judiciary and business.
According to local and Serbian media, he also has influence among criminal circles in the Balkans.
Miyalkov is Gruevski’s cousin and the son of Jordan Miyalkov, the first interior minister of the independent Republic of Macedonia, who died in December 1991 in Serbia.
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