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Macedonian Court Orders Seizure Of Conservative Leaders' Passports In Wiretapping Case

The former prime minister and leader of the VMRO-DPMNE conservative party, Nikola Gruevski, denies all charges.

A court in Macedonia has ordered that passports be seized from former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and four other officials in his conservative party, including two former cabinet ministers, in connection with a major wiretapping scandal.

The order was announced on July 3 after Gruevski and the former ministers of the interior and transportation, Gordana Jankuloska and Mile Janakieski, were indicted for allegedly violating election-campaign-finance rules and related offenses in a special prosecutor's probe into illegal wiretapping.

In the scandal, the telephone conversations of about 20,000 people were illegally recorded. Gruevski denies wrongdoing and blames foreign spies.

The scandal triggered a political crisis and an election in December 2016 that ended the 10-year rule of Gruevski's conservative VMRO-DPMNE party.

More than 100 people have been indicted so far in the wiretapping investigation.

Based on reporting by AP and