SKOPJE -- Prosecutors in North Macedonia have brought charges against an ex-special prosecutor tasked with investigating high-level corruption and two businessmen, in a high-profile extortion scandal that has rocked the Balkan country since the summer.
Former Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva faces charges on two grounds -- “taking a reward for illegal influence” and “misuse of office” -- the Basic Prosecutor's Office for the Prosecution of Organized Crime and Corruption said in a statement on October 10.
The prosecution also asked the Skopje Criminal Court to extend detention for the three suspects, who deny wrongdoing.
The scandal has undermined the credibility of North Macedonia's anti-corruption drive as the country is seeking to open accession talks with the European Union.
Janeva is alleged to have taken a bribe of 50,000 euros ($55,000) and a reward in furniture worth another 5,000 euros from a local businessman, Orce Kamcev, involved in a separate investigation.
The two businessmen indicted in the extortion case are Bojan Jovanovski and Zoran Milevski, who were arrested in July.
Janeva has been in pretrial custody since August, and lawmakers relieved the prosecutor of her duties in September.
Janeva's Special Prosecution Office (SJO) was created in 2015 to crack down on organized crime and corruption as part of North Macedonia’s bid to join the European Union.