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Macedoniaʼs Gruevski used Hungarian Embassy car to flee

According to information confirmed by Albanian police, Macedoniaʼs ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski used a car owned by the Embassy of Hungary in Albania to escape Macedonia, multiple reports say.

Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán with Nikola Gruevski at a press conference last year. (Photo by miniszterelnok.hu)

The new developments in the case of the fugitive ex-Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski, who announced his application for asylum in Hungary this week via Facebook, suggest that Hungary had a hand in assisting the politicianʼs escape to Budapest through the Balkans.

"N. Gruevski, on 11.11.2018 at 19:11, has exited at Hani i Hotit with the vehicle CD1013A," the Albanian police said in a press release, Macedonian online news portal Korrieri reports.

A photo on the Albanian news site, shows a man alleged to be Gruevski driving the car, suggesting the embassy did not just take him through the border, but gave him the vehicle to use.

According to a report by news portal Balkan Insight, Interpol Skopje (FYR Macedonia) informed Interpol Tirana (Albania) on November 13 that there is an international arrest warrant against the ex-PM.

The information is in line with Hungarian government spokesman Gergely Gulyásʼs comments this week, made during a press briefing session, saying that Gruevski applied for asylum outside of Hungary.

Gruevski was due to start a two-year prison sentence last week. According to Hungarian online news site 444.hu, he was found guilty of corruption charges related to an incident in 2012, when he got his Minister of Interior to get him a Mercedes car worth EUR 600,000 for private use.

While the Hungarian government claimed that Gruevskiʼs situation will be handled as a legal case, not a political one, a report by Hungarian online news portal hvg.hu states that Hungarian ruling party Fideszʼs communications director, Balázs Hídvéghi, had made claims at odds with the governmentʼs communications. He argued that Hungary will give protection to anyone fleeing persecution, claiming that Nikola Gruevski is persecuted and threatened by the Macedonian government, which is "under the influence of George Soros".