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Court Orders Freeze On Macedonia Main Opposition Party's Property

VMRO-DPMNE Secretary-General Igor Janushev has slammed the ruling, describing it as "political persecution."
VMRO-DPMNE Secretary-General Igor Janushev has slammed the ruling, describing it as "political persecution."

A Macedonian court has ordered the temporary freezing of property belonging to the country's main opposition party as part of an investigation into suspected unlawful political financing.

The Skopje Criminal Court said on November 1 that it had issued the order following a request from prosecutors for a freeze on the selling or leasing of 69 real estate properties owned by the VMRO-DPMNE party, including the building that houses its headquarters.

Party Secretary-General Igor Janushev condemned the ruling, saying it amounted to "political persecution."

Janushev also said that VMRO-DPMNE had appealed the court's decision, which comes days after the conservative party said it might decide to sell or lease its headquarters in the capital to cut costs.

Prosecutors began an investigation in 2017 against 14 people, including ex-VMRO-DPMNE leader and former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, on allegations the party received 4.9 million euros in funding through money-laundering.

Under Gruevski, the VMRO-DPMNE led Macedonia's government from 2006 to 2017.

Gruevski is due to begin serving a two-year sentence this month in another corruption case.

He was found guilty for unlawfully influencing officials over the purchase of a luxury bulletproof vehicle, and has been ordered to report to prison no later than November 8 to serve his sentence.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and Balkan Insight

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