The Macedonian authorities issued an arrest warrant for ex-prime minister Nikola Gruevski on November 12 after he failed to appear at prison to serve his two-year sentence.
Gruevski was sentenced in the case known as “Tank” for using his position to influence officials from the interior ministry when he was in power to purchase a €600,000 luxury Mercedes.
The warrant was issued after police special units forcibly entered Gruevski’s apartment but did not find him there. He has been unavailable to the court authorities for several days.
Gruevski was supposed to present himself at prison to serve his sentence by November 8. His lawyers filed complaints asking for the postponement of his prison sentence, but the court rejected them. Since then he has disappeared.
The police is searching for Nikola Gruevski, born on August 31, 1970 in Skopje, in order to arrest him for a period of two years for committing a crime — receiving an award for using illicit influence — under the criminal code, the interior ministry said on its website.
This was the first verdict for Gruevski, 48, who also faces trials in another four cases launched by the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
Gruevski is a former leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which was ousted last year after a decade in power. Its officials now face trials in many corruption and criminal cases.
The former prime minister, who served from 2006 to 2016, said the verdict had a political background and denied the charges.