Disgraced former Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva gave her closing statement in the major Racket trial, in which she confirmed the key statements given the previous day by her accomplice Bojan Jovanovski – Boki 13. Janeva and Boki both pointed the finger at their former close friend and political ally Zoran Zaev for his involvement in the scandal.
Janeva and Boki 13 are charged with extorting millions from businessmen such as Jordan Orce Kamcev, who Janeva was pressuring with criminal charges. They deny the allegations and accused Zaev, Kamcev and prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska of colluding against them with the purpose of destroying Janeva’s office. Janeva today again sought to portray herself as a heroic crime fighter – the role jn which she was cast by some of the Macedonian media and international press and diplomats in 2015 and 2016. She accused Zaev of siding with Kamcev because Kamcev had control over several opposition members of Parliament – whose votes Zaev desperately needed in order to rename Macedonia.
It is all true, Janeva said, when asked about Boki 13’s statement yesterday that Zaev asked them to meet to review the recordings Kamcev made of Janeva and Boki. The tapes and conversations show Boki 13 asking for a huge bribe from Kamcev, in exchange for Janeva ending the money laundering case against him. Janeva and Boki 13 deny he context of the tapes and accuse Kamcev of getting them to talk with the goal of setting them up. Zaev’s involvement at the very least confirms that he was meeting with both sides of the Racket scandal, and in April 2019 warned Janeva and Boki 13 that they have been recorded and are under surveillance, thus undermining the investigation against them.
Janeva filed charges against Kamcev and former state security chief Saso Mijalkov, as well as several other major businessmen, all accused of money laundering worth millions of euros. In his testimony, Boki 13 said that Zaev demanded that these charges are dropped, since Kamcev and Mijalkov both controlled several former VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament, who were needed to join Zaev’s group and vote for the imposed name change. From the trial it became clear that Zaev was using the case against the two as added leverage against the members of Parliament, some of whom faced additional politically driven charges aimed directly at them, but Janeva’s alleged attempt to extort money from Kamcev on top of the vote deal complicated the matter.
Boki 13 alleged that his phone is not being investigated because it would reveal direct communication between Zaev and Mijalkov, and their backroom dealings. “I witnessed how they (the members of Parliament) were promised freedom if they called on the public to vote in favor of the name change at the referendum. It can be easily determined that I met with Zaev on November 10 2018. Then he told me that Janeva made a big mistake by opening the money laundering case against Kamcev, Boki 13 testified. Yesterday Boki 13 announced his testimony as his long awaited “opening of the Pandora’s box”.
Janeva today went a little further than Boki 13 and also testified how Zaev needed the votes to amend articles in the criminal code to avoid being prosecuted for one of his several corruption allegations. Zaev was charged in 2015 over a case in which he was clearly recorded by a businessman from Strumica, who collaborated with the police, while demanding a bribe to allow the sale of a publicly owned piece of land in Strumica. As Mayor of Strumica Zaev faced a long list of similar allegations, and in a previous case received a presidential pardon for a well documented charge. Janeva said that Zaev sought to amend the law to escape the 2015 charge, for which he was eventually found not guilty by a cowed court.
Opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski today called for a renewed and expanded investigation into the scandal, based on the testimony given by Boki 13.
I wish what I heard wasn’t true, because it reveals that the head of the Government at the time was encouraging horrific actions. This is the same person who now claims a new mandate to rule the country. I believe that the citizens, who are seeing all this, are wise and will determine where the fault in this case actually lies, Mickoski said, adding that a serious investigation will likely have to wait for a new team in the state prosecutor’s office, given that the current prosecutor Ruskoska is clearly covering up Zaev’s involvement in the scandal.