Vice Zaev, the businessman brother of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, demanded that TV crews are not allowed in the defamation trial he initiated against VMRO-DPMNE Vice-President Aleksandar Nikoloski. Vice Zaev sues Nikoloski for his comment that Zaev’s extensive business interests are now intermingled with those of former secret service chief Saso Mijalkov, who was kicked out of VMRO-DPMNE and that due to this connection Mijalkov helped the SDSM party reach the majority to amend the Constitution and rename Macedonia.

The two met today at the main Skopje courthouse, but the media were left outside. According to Nikoloski, the message Zaev wants to make is that if he can take a leading opposition official to court, he can easily intimidate companies across the country to accept his business offers.

Vice Zaev gained prominence after corruption charges were initiated against Zoran Zaev in 2015. In a video recording, a businessman from Strumica recorded then Mayor Zoran Zaev asking him for a bribe worth hundreds of thousands of euros, in order to allow the sale of publicly ownede land. In the recording, Zaev tells the businessman to bring half of the money to Vice Zaev’s money changing shop.