Two days after the revelation that Vice Zaev, Zoran Zaev’s brother, was meeting with one of the key suspects in the major Racket scandal, Zoran Zaev has remained silent on the issue. But today Vice Zaev issued an official denial.
I publicly deny all these made up and fabricated allegations. Neither I, Vice Zaev, nor any member of my famly are linked to the case known in the public as Racket, or with the lies that are spread by the VMRO-DPMNE party. It’s not true that I met with the people suspected in this case, or that I’ve been recorded in video footage with them. The attempts to involve me in this dirty political campaign are done to harm Zoran Zaev and the policies he is pursuing, Vice Zaev said in his statement.
The meeting between Vice Zaev and Zoran Mileski – Zoki Kiceec was recorded by the police, which performed surveillance on Kiceec and the other Racket suspects during the summer, prior to their arrest. The video tape was presented in court without the audio, and without explanation from the the prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska, and it was the press that noticed Vice Zaev on the tape. This prompted allegations against Ruskoska that she was hoping this meeting will remain unnoticed among the other surveillance tapes she was presenting. Despite the clear evidence, Vice Zaev is now denying that the press in the courthouse saw what they saw, and in his statement he calls on the prosecution to publish all the surveillance materials before the public.
The statement also contains a contrary comment that seems to confirm that Vice Zaev was present at the meeting. He says: “the fact that the procedure of gathering evidence and video materials was conducted lawfully proves that nobody controls the Interior Ministry, the prosecution and the judiciary. If anybody had control over these institutons, as during the days of the regime, this would never have happened”, Vice Zaev says. This construction is a typical defense of Zaev’s supporters when the family of the Prime Minister is caught red-handed and it boils down to praising the police and the prosecutors for doing their job to buy time while the public moves on to the next scandal.
Vice Zaev, in his lengthy statement, also praises the newly adopted law on state prosecutors, that was pushed through Parliament on Sunday in a scandalous double vote. “This law means that justice is finally coming and everybody who violated the law will be held accountable. There will be no respite for the criminals, they are going to prison”, Vice adds.
He goes on to defend his extensive business interests, which have grown greatly under Zaev, insisting that no inspection or investigation has ever come up with anything illegal in the Zaev family businesses, that include marijuana growing, construction and food exports.
Vice Zaev first became “famous” due to the infamous bribery tape, in which Zoran Zaev, as Mayor of Strumica, was recorded asking for hundreds of thousands of euros in bribes from a businessman who wanted to purchase a piece of publicly owned land near Strumica. In the tape, Zoran Zaev tells the businessman to leave half the money with “Vic’to”. In court, Zoran Zaev claimed that he was using the word “cimento”, or cement, and was misheard.