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Former Macedonian Minister Jailed Over Luxury Car Purchase

Former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska appears in court on October 8.
Former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska appears in court on October 8.

A Macedonian court has sentenced a former interior minister to six years in prison after convicted her of involvement in the purchase of a luxury bulletproof vehicle.

The Skopje Criminal Court on October 8 found Gordana Jankuloska guilty of abusing her position and authority in the purchase of a 600,000-euro ($688,000) Mercedes in 2012, while she was at the helm of the Interior Ministry.

Judge Dobrila Kacarska said that Nikola Gruevski, who was prime minister at the time, solicited the purchase of the car from Jankuloska.

The defendant then encouraged former Deputy Interior Minister Gjoko Popovski to rig the tendering procedure and commit a "criminal act."

Jankuloska, who did not attend the court session, had pleaded not guilty. She can appeal the verdict.

Gruevski, who led the government from 2006 to 2016, and Popovski were sentenced to prison in May in the same case, and an appeals court last week upheld the former prime minister's two-year sentence.

However, Popovski's 6 1/2-year-term was reduced by two years.

The defendants were convicted on the basis of evidence from audio material collected during a massive wiretapping scandal that erupted in 2015 and contributed to the fall of Gruevski's government.

The wiretapping scandal ignited massive street protests, both for and against his government, and led to early elections.

Following the vote, Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev took over as prime minister in May 2017.

Gruevski's government denied responsibility for the wiretapping, blaming foreign spy agencies.

With reporting by Balkan Insight

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