VMRO-DPMNE spokesman Dimitar Arsovski asked Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to respond if it is true that a major foreign investment planned for Strumica opted to go to a different city after he asked the company for a bribe.

Speaking at a TV debate on Thursday, Arsovski said that he doesn’t have the permission to name the company, which eventually decided to operate from Kocani, after being unable to meet Zaev’s demands for a bribe.

Several years ago foreign investors were interested to invest in Strumica, at a time when Zaev was Mayor. Only days later, they choose Kocani. Why was that? Is it VMRO-DPMNE which forced Zaev to go to an investor and demand a bribe for his broter Vice? Is that the way to bring foreign investors to the country?, Arsovski asked.

He reminded the public of the criminal investigation into Zaev, when a court ordered video wiretap clearly shows him asking for a bribe from a local businessman who wanted to develop another plot of publicly owned land in Strumica. His comment to bring “one euro to Vice” – Zaev’s brother who runs many family businesses – became synonymous with Zaev’s corruption.

Zaev was found not guilty in this case, by a court believed to be heavily under the influence of his SDSM party. And in 2008, Zaev was pardoned by President Crvenkovski, after a similar case of ordering the city of Strumica to go into a lucrative construction contract with a company close to his business interests.

The VMRO-DPMNE Government was able to bring significant manufacturing foreign investments into Macedonia in its 10 year term in office. Several public announcements by the Government that companies are negotiating to bring manufacturing jobs to Strumica, however, often came to nothing.