A day after publicly accusing a major pro-Government media outlet of racketeering businesses, journalist Branko Geroski wrote up additional allegations about the group. Geroski again conceals the names of the media outlet and of the SDSM party officials involved in racketeering, but they are easily recognizable by even moderately informed readers. The owner of the media outlet in question is identified only as “Koki” by Geroski.
It’s an escalation of the fight between pro-SDSM media outlets, and Geroski himself was, until recently, close to Zaev’s party, as seen by the benefits enjoyed by Sloboden Pecat – the newspaper he edited. He was fired from Sloboden Pecat after several expressions of criticism against Zaev. And another pro-SDSM media outlet, Telma TV, joined in the fray, putting its weight on Geroski’s side, against “Koki”, as a Telma journalist asked opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski to help bring transparency in the issue put an end to the practice of media assisted racketeering by the Government.
In his the first essay published by Geroski, he claimed that the media outlet and party officials openly asked for a huge bribe from a small hotel owner, who fell ill when he heard “Koki” demanding 200.000 EUR from him and was barely revived. Now, in his second essay, Geroski again describes a report of attempted racketeering, in which the media owner, “Koki”, and a top level SDSM party official who Geroski identifies as “Kiki”, attepmted to get the female Mayor of an SDSM led municipality to sign off a piece of publicly owned land to a bogus humanitarian organization led by “Koki”. Geroski uses the fake name “Trajanka” for the Mayor, but given how very few mayors in Macedonia are female, her actual identity is also easy to tell, and as a bonus in the guessing game he started, Geroski names the involved SDSM party official – “Kiki” – as a person from her city. Republika will not publish their names at this time.
According to Geroski, the piece of land and the tax waiver which “Koki” and “Kiki” asked from “Trajanka” would have amounted to a million EUR easily. According to Geroski, even though coming from the same political side, the financial impact of the request was such that the Mayor rejected the request, and even told “Koki” and “Kiki” to take their “humanitarian project” to Zaev’s stronghold of Strumica, not in her city.
I was told that after being kicked out from the Mayor’s office, this group of racketeers, led by “Koki” and “Kiki” tried to “sell” the same project in at least two other municipalities across the country. I’ve not been informed if they were successful in getting the municipal funds anywhere, Geroski writes.
Asked about the developing scandal by Telma, VMRO leader Mickoski said that “Koki”‘s media outlet apparently enjoys judicial protection.
It is known that a close relative of Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva is part of the management in one TV station, which then uses Janeva’s position when it approaches potential “sponsors”, Mickoski said. The opposition leader called on the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the allegations that this media outlet is being used to pressure businessmen.