Tirana, 16 November 2018 (MIA) – Former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski is thought to have entered Albania illegally when escaping en route to Hungary to avoid prison in his home country, police said Friday.
“Gruevski has most likely entered Albania illegally,” a police spokesman told AFP.
The former prime minister’s passage through the Balkan country was not registered at any border crossing between Macedonia and Albania, spokesman Gentian Mullai said.
Gruevski is suspected to have crossed the border between the two countries on foot “to avoid drawing attention,” he added.
Facing a jail term for abuse of power, the former strongman who dominated Macedonia for nearly a decade until 2016, announced via Facebook Tuesday that he was seeking political asylum in Hungary.
He claimed to be a victim of political persecution in Macedonia.
Albanian police said Thursday that Gruevski left the country on Sunday to enter Montenegro in a Hungarian diplomatic vehicle.
The Hungarian government denied having actively assisting Gruevski’s escape.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has consistently supported Gruevski, an authoritarian right-winger like himself.
Montenegrin newspaper Vijesti reported on Friday quoted a police source as saying that Gruevski was accompanied by two people with Hungarian diplomatic passports when entering and leaving Montenegro.
Gruevski was sentenced to jail in Macedonia for using a government car for personal travel. A Skopje court upheld the sentence in October.
He also faces a number of other charges of corruption, abuse of power, electoral fraud as well as illegal wiretapping.