Gjoko Lazarevski, one of the rogue UBK intelligence officers who were charged with abusing the surveillance systems and secretly recording conversations of Government officials, made a short comment after the entire official narrative about his “exploits” was undermined by the main suspect Zoran Verusevski.

I have always been transparent, even when others were silent, and I will continue to do so in the future, Lazarevski briefly told the Faktor news site.

Lazareski and Zvonko Kostovski were active UBK officers who were arrested in early 2015, along with former UBK chief Verusevski, and charged with the wiretapping, and giving the recordings to the then opposition SDSM party, to be used in its subsequent power-grab. But now Verusevski, who was also instrumental in the similar 2000 scandal which contributed to the 2001 civil war, acknowledged that the recordings were “heavily modified” by SDSM. This same claim was raised by VMRO-DPMNE for years, and was often mocked by the left while in an unprecedented move, the illegally recorded conversations were accepted as evidence by the courts.

Verusevski’s statement left SDSM party officials and prosecutors working on the basis of the recordings hard pressed to defend their actions over the past four and a half years.

Journalists are speculating as for the reasons why Verusevski, who was top SDSM party security officer and is adviser to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, decided to distance himself from the entire wiretapping operation in this way. The three spooks were declared “heroic whistleblowers” by the pro-SDSM press, and Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski pompously invited Lazarevski and Kostovski to return to their jobs at the UBK. Lazarevski, who is related to powerful SDSM politicians and had his wife hired at a well paid job in a left wing think tank, previously claimed that Verusevski was personally involved in selecting the wiretaps that would have the maximum propaganda impact in favor of the SDSM party.

Zvonko would export the recorded conversations, initially just the text messages, on a DVD. It was all sent to me. I would then give it to Verusevski, copied on an encrypted external hard drive that was filled in chronologically and kept by me for three years, Lazarevski said.

Verusevski now used the passive voice for his own involvement, and told the court that Lazarevski involved in giving the material to the SDSM party. The tapes were used to prosecute former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and a long list of his associates before pliable courts for a number of alleged crimes. Gruevski eventually left the country and sought political asylum in Hungary, after he was sentenced to jail for ordering the purchase of an armored luxury vehicle which is still in frequent use by the Interior Ministry. Some of the most emotional cases pushed by the three “whistleblowers” and the SDSM party, such as the death of Martin Neskovski, journalist Nikola Mladenov and the 2012 Good Friday massacre, are by now thoroughly debunked and the spectacular collapse of the Special Prosecutor’s Office only adds to the feeling that the entire operation was done with the sole purpose to impose the name and identity change on Macedonia – a project Gruevski strongly opposed.