Trifun Kostovski, the owner of the now bankrupt Eurostandard Bank, openly accused the ruling SDSM party of destroying his bank. Eurostandard was ordered to cease operations and placed under forced management by the NBRM Central Bank after years of mismanagement, for which Kostovksi now says that it was driven by politics.
Kostovski said that the manager of the bank Nikolce Petkovski hid from him the fact that he is pouring money into failing companies in the Strumica region, which is the power base of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Much of the funds were given to Galafarm, a troubled company that Kostovski says should never have received credits. Kostovski added that Petkovski is well versed in banking and knew that the credits will never be repaid, but that the practice was done for political reasons.
That person managed to gain my trust, he was a spotless candidate, a proper man, wouldn’t drink, smoke, gamble, but apparently it was all a facade, Kostovski said.
The bank is expected to receive over 60 million EUR in public funds and from a collective solidarity fund supported by other banks to pay back its depositors. The banks which received credits, on the other hand, may avoid paying them back, especially if they set up shell companies or went bankrupt. Eurostandard was a low tier bank, but it had a very lucrative, exclusive contract with the Macedonian Post Office giving it unprecedented access to small towns and villages. After its collapse, the Zaev Government announced it will sell the Post Office, which just fueled speculations that Kostovski’s bank was brought down to clear the way for greater banking interests to take over the postal branches.