SPO dismisses its charges against Zaev and Verushevski

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The Special Public Prosecution (SPO) announced on Wednesday that it dismissed the indictment for the ‘Coup’ case which opened the wiretapping affair in early 2015. In the case, charges were filed against former top intelligence officer Zoran Verushevski and against Zoran Zaev, leader of the social-democratic SDSM party, for running a rogue wiretapping ring and of using the materials to blackmail a place for SDSM in the Government.

SPO said that the situation presented in the indictment, which it took over from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OJO) is contrary to the evidence which the SPO has gathered and the findings in its own investigation. The SPO was formed to investigate the origin of the wiretaps, and their content. Early in their work the SPO refused to ask for extension of Verushevski’s detention, setting him free, which prompted allegations from the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party that the SPO is trying to cover the whole case up.

Today’s decision comes as no surprise, because a few months ago, ahead of the early elections on December 11th, the SPO held a press conference to announce its own work on the ‘Coup’ case, but held it under different names – ‘Target’ and ‘Fortress’ – and announced that it is focusing more on VMRO-DPMNE affiliated intelligence officials then on Verushevski. During the day, SPO will submit a motion to the Basic Court Skopje 1 to announce that they are withdrawing the charges against Zaev and Verushevski.

Also charged were two other intelligence officers, an associate of Zaev’s and Verushevski’s wife. One of the intelligence officers, who actually worked on the surveillance systems of the UBK service, acknowledged that he was recruited by Verushevski to abuse the position, and is already sentenced following a plea agreement with the OJO prosecutor’s office.