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Hungary court rejects extradition of Macedonian ex-PM

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Macedonia’s former prime minister Nikola Gruevski enters a court in Skopje, Macedonia October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

A Hungarian court rejected on Thursday Macedonia’s extradition request for former premier Nikola Gruevski, who is accused of misusing public funds including a conviction for providing himself with a luxury Mercedes automobile.

“The conditions for extradition, having seen the international arrest warrant and Macedonia’s extradition request, have not been fulfilled,” judge Eva Varhgyi said following a short closed hearing in Budapest.

Gruevski, 48, was allowed to walk freely from the courthouse, in a baseball cap and sunglasses.

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He fled to Hungary in November via Albania, Montenegro and Serbia after being sentenced to two years in prison for using a Macedonia government Mercedes worth some 600,000 euros ($680,000) for personal travel.

After Gruevski fled, a special prosecution team appointed to probe alleged crimes committed by his administration, submitted two new charges against him.

He was accused of “illegal financing” of his VMRO-DPMNE party and unlawful construction of its headquarters.

Gruevski was prime minister of Macedonia from 2006 to 2016 and is a friend of Hungarian premier Viktor Orban.

Gruevski’s downfall came after evidence appeared to show a widespread wire-tapping scheme by his administration

In February, he claimed to have fled Macedonia after he heard that he would be killed in prison.


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