Wiretapping scandal set 2: The wild card in our courts – “Is he our guy?”
In this wiretapping records set, the first conversation is between Gordana Jankuloska and Mihajlo Manevski, in which they talk about a judgement for the brother of “Lina from the Judges’ Council” and that she is VMRO-DPMNE’s “wild card”, whereupon they mention the problems caused by “Trajko and Jovo” in that regard, due to the fact that the Supreme Court has annulled the two judgements that have been in favor of that man, out of turn. Manevski then says that it will not be a problem to “arrange” the new trials in the Basic Court and the Court of Appeals, but again the problem will come up in the Supreme Court. Both interlocutors consider the possibility to ask Gruevski to intervene and fulfil Lina’s request, and that Trajko and Jovo should be given a lesson. Manevski expresses hope that they will appease Lina if they employ her daughter.
The second conversation played in this press conference is between Musa Djaferi and Sasho Mijalkov. They talk about the Supreme Court President elections, soon after the election meeting has begun, whereupon Mijalkov tells him that Blerim (Bedjeti, the Minister of Justice at that time) blocked VMRO-DPMNE’s decision, which is opposite to what has been previously agreed.
The next conversation is between Gordana Jankuloska and Zoran Stavreski. They talk about a criminal charge filed against Stavreski that should be voided and they also talk about Marko’s (Zvrlevski) confirmation that it was done, i.e. he closed the case. Then, Stavreski asks, if it is so, should he “file a criminal charge for forged…” against “this woman” who filed the charge against him.
In the following conversation between Gordana Jankuloska and Marjan Risteski, Prilep’s mayor entreats Jankuloska to do the trick for a judge in Prilep’s court, whereupon he says that “he is their guy”, and Jankuloska says that she’ll have him in mind if there are favorable conditions.
The last conversation from this set is between Dragan Pavlovikj – Latas and Filimena Manevska. “Sitel” TV station’s editor-in-chief complains that judgements “in their favor” are annulled by the Court of Appeals and he requests a meeting with “the woman from the Court of Appeals”, because the negative judgements from this court have spurred all judges from the lower courts to “not give a d**m” about “them”, and they are afraid that the judgements in favor of “the ones” with Latas will always be annulled.
All of the “bombs” are here.
Press conference of Zoran Zaev, president of SDSM, in Skopje, 15th of February 2015
(Below you will find the transcripts in English of the records played in this press conference)
Gordana Jankulovska and Mihajlo Manevski
GJ: I wanted one consultation with you. Lina wrote me, you know, from the Judicial Council, about the problem her brother has. What can be done? Because, we called back then and everything went accordingly in the Appeals Court. Now she has learned that the Supreme Court had already taken a negative decision.
MM: Well, that has been handled by Trajko and Jovo. You know, Trajko is very hung on that matter. She is our wild card. Without her, we cannot appoint or dismiss [judges]. Yesterday I spoke with Trajko. He was almost derisive.
GJ: Yes, I know …
MM: But, I tell him, hold on man. Why are you so hung on that person? He is not even here, he left for America. He will be there for four years. What now? Do you know how important she will be to us? Do you Trajko? No, I will not take him in, he requested me to pay. Come on, this matter is much more important than what you… You are being stubborn now, and you overlook the bigger interests. You see, we are about to appoint the President of the Supreme Court, how can I persuade her now? Now, this Tuesday.
GJ: Yes, yes, yes.
MM: I don’t know what to say, he called me the other day. Trajko, why are you so hung on that person? He is not even here…. he is gone… I don’t know, here he created lots of problems. They have performed the review by skipping the order; they have agreed this with Jovo and have cancelled both rulings and returned them for retrial. That’s what they have done; created us a big problem. They made an incredible problem for me!
GJ: It means there’s no point in calling Jovo when…
MM: When he did this with Trajko. You would be calling him to no avail. No avail. We will have to persuade her. She has a daughter, and wants us to employ her as intern.
GJ: That’s not a problem!
MM: But, I know there will be. Let’s say we make another promise to her. We can push the matter in first and second instance…
GJ: We will push it in the Appeals Court. Well, nothing then. I see she has written me this morning, but wanted to speak to you before I call her. If things are as they are, I’ll tell her that I can’t [do anything] with Jovo.
MM: She knows, she knows from which direction the wind blows. She knows.
GJ: After that, if needed, we’ll ask the Prime Minister to speak with Jovo.
MM: Well, we’ll push things in first instance now…
GJ: You know, once he told both Trajko and Jovo, in my presence and in yours!
MM: I don’t know what these two are thinking! I don’t know what’s with them! I told him: listen, that woman is our wild card. Without her, there will be no appointments or dismissals. What should tell him now?
GJ: You are about to appoint him this Monday. But seriously! You should tell him: now you go and arrange that!
MM: I told him the other day. Do you see now; how are we to appoint?! Nothing, he doesn’t want to hear. I don’t know what has that man done to him? Why is he so resistant to this person? What the person did is done. He is not here for 3 years, so goodbye. Because of the higher interest we have, you know.
GJ: In 4 years, we might also be somewhere else.
MM: That’s right… This is of greater interest to us. To have 10 people there, instead of lacking Lina’s [vote].
GJ: Then, nothing can be done for Lina…
MM: You talk to her. I’ll talk.
GJ: I’ll talk to her, that’s not a problem, but I wanted to do this for her.
MM: I wanted it also. We did handle her matter, but Trajko got upset. He told me: you intervened in the Appeals Court to have it confirmed.
GJ: Well I intervened, and then you.
MM: Doesn’t Trajko understand this situation.
GJ: He pretends he doesn’t know.
MM: He doesn’t understand how grave our problem is. This is a serious problem for me.
GJ: I’ll call Lina.
MM: We’ll promise her that we’ll make efforts to have this arranged in first and second instance court.
GJ: Yes, I know.
MM: Afterwards, these two should be pressured.
GJ: Another [problem] with them. What can we do… there’s no other way. There’s no other solution or exit.
MM: Without her, on Tuesday we have 9, and if she goes against, we’ll have 8. There will be no appointment of president.
GJ: Let Jovo realize what decision he had made.
MM: We are blocked by our own… instead of helping us.
Conversation between Musa Dzaferi and Saso Mijalkov
SM: You know, the thing that emerged now is unwarranted; it raises waves about the Court, about the appointment of President of the Supreme Court President, etc.
Hence, I heard through the grapevine you had prior knowledge of that matter, together with Blerim. I wanted to say that, you see, when some matters need to be done, they have to be agreed in advance.
In this case, now is the appointment of President of the Supreme Court and Blerim has halted it from within, without prior agreement, without anything.
And, it’s a matter regarding a position that has always been ours and has never been the subject of discussion. I talked to Abdulakim , but cannot talk to him. I have explained to Abdulakim why and how with great explanations, and I’ll be brief now…
Then I explained about the Criminal Court. I have explained to him why with arguments. For something to be halted in that manner, a conversation should take place first. It’s not nice for us, as partners, to have the appointment halted.
Now, the item is put on the agenda and needs to go through.
MDz: I am informed and Abdulakim communicates with you.
SM: I just spoke to Abdulakim. But, I was informed that Ali has told you and Blerim to finish this matter, i.e. to make a decision.
MDz: I need to talk to Ali first. Otherwise, let’s meet for 5 minutes because I…
SM: We can see each other and I wanted to explain everything. Look, we cannot hit the break on this thing. No matter how much we talk, withdrawal is not possible here. We can talk about other things.
Supreme Court and Criminal Court cannot be subject of discussion. Because you have the Two (one of the two Basic Courts in Skopje, n.a) … and you have the One (one of the two Basic Courts in Skopje, n.a)… You have the one, and the two, and the Administrative Court, and the Ombudsman, and presidents of other courts in East Macedonia, deputy in the Supreme Court, in the Appeals Court – I think that [your party] is situated as never before.
If other ambitions are in play, it’s his problem. And I know the ambitions there…
MDz: I don’t know, I don’t want to speculate…
SM: From nothing, this has become something. Let’s not do that. This is really nothing! All because somebody has ambitions.
MDz: How can we sit… And I must talk to Ali first…
SM: Talk. The meeting has started, and if this doesn’t go through today, there will be no appointment till December; we’ll be scorned; we’ll suffer major damage. All for nothing.
I don’t know why it’s so important. Maybe for some business. It will be transformed into a big problem.
25 people are about to be appointed now in December… Albanians… that’s agreed, it will be realized.
MDz: Let’s meet, if you have time.
Conversation between Gordana Jankulovska and Zoran Stavrevski
GJ: Nothing, I called you about the thing I wrote you earlier. So, as I told you, I have mentioned to Marko (Zvrlevski, Public Prosecutor) and told him to see in this or that manner, not directly by saying ‘reject the charges’, but ‘see to it that the matter is done’, this and that, and he knows what that means.
GJ: This morning I called him, and he later called me back and told me, since he was in court and could not speak from there, he told me: “you should know that the task you gave me is done”.
I have to see him about other things as well, about the Law on Criminal Proceedings, these days I will report to you in more details, but know that everything is OK with the case.
Only to let you know.
ZS: Mmmh, good.
GJ: He will tell me exactly how he had closed [the case].
ZS: That means they’ll take a decision right now?
GJ: Well he [will], as I understood. I’m telling you, the man was in court and talked to me in codes. From what I understood, he had closed the case.
GJ: And he can close it by decision on rejecting.
ZS: Gorde, after that, should I file criminal charge again her for false [charges].
GJ: Well, you can file charges against her.
ZS: Should I bother with than or should I close the book here?
GJ: You see, this is how it goes. I, for example, to tell you honestly, have never [filed charges] against someone, and you know that the entire state is filing charges against me… I have never reported somebody for false charges.
ZS: Or should I keep her in incertitude?
GJ: Keep her in incertitude.
ZS: I can file later.
GJ: Yes, let’s see the timeframe for statute of limitations. Every deed has statute of limitations.
I’ll inquire. I plan to call Marko the day after tomorrow. I’ll summon him for a longer talk cause always, you know…
ZS: And check this aspect.
GJ: I’ll talk to him about past experiences.
But I don’t want to summon him for 10 minutes. Because he also asked to see me and I need him for more cases. Let me pay respects to him, at least once. He has troubles at this place. As if I’m a psychiatrist!
ZS: OK. Good. Thanks a lot. Great news. One problem less.
GJ: I just told him the other day. Look, please speed up this thing. It’s about to start, I tell him, the budget discussion in Parliament is about to start – to have one thing less.
He said no problem, we’ll handle it.
ZS: Thank him on my behalf when you see him.
Conversation between Gordana Jankulovska and Marjan Risteski
MR: Hey Gorde, how are you?
GJ: Marjan, did I wake you?
MR: No, no, no.
GJ: Listen, just a brief consultation, do you know Nikola Krstevski, the judge from the Prilep Court?
MR: Nikola Krstevski. It’s that guy from Krusevo.
GJ: From Krusevo, yes.
GJ: Is he our man? What kind of man is he?
MR: He’s ours, I mean… he’s OK. He strayed away for a short time with People’s [VMRO People’s Party], but he’s ours.
GJ: So this is the thing, can we count him as 100% ours? You know, we need guarantees, if something emerges to stand strongly on our side.
MR: Yes, yes, yes. We can count on him, for sure.
GJ: All right Marjan, that’s why I called.
MR: OK, great.
GJ: OK, if there are conditions, you know I don’t promise, but if there are conditions I’ll take him into consideration.
MR: Good, great.
GJ: OK Marjan, thank you. Bye now.
Conversation between Dragan Pavlovik Latas and Filimena Manevska
DPL: I forgot to tell you.
FM: Tell me.
DPL: It might not be a bad idea to sit down with the woman from the Appeals Court, have coffee and informally get to know each other. All the rulings in the last six months, all of them, have been reconsidered by the Appeals Court with decisions against us and are returned.
FM: How come?
DPL: For example, we have not won Manik for defamation.
DPL: The ruling is returned. That would instill fear with the judge for the future.
FM: Which judge is that?
DPL: No, no, I tell you we have won the cases in the Basic Court, but in the Appeals Court… Cases ruled in our favor are cancelled by the Appeals Court and returned for retrial.
FM: Listen Latas, I told you, as soon as they arrive in the Appeals Court, call me immediately.
DPL: You and I have called about this. For example, three of them [rulings of the Appeals Court] are bad. One is Manik, one is Borjan Jovanovski, and one is this president of the Broadcasting Council whose spouse is SDS official in Prilep.
FM: And what? They were returned as well?
DPL: All three, all three.
FM: Which judge? Which judge council is that? Which judge did that?
DPL: Well, I have to check. Then, I should see through this woman…
FM: Go see, and then call me. I’m interested to see.
DPL: Not immediately today. I’ll tell my lawyer to prepare it in written in the next two-three days and will bring you in written.
FM: How is that possible?
DPL: All, all. And now, you know how bad the atmosphere is with the judge when he sees that all has been returned, he will not rule [in our favor] again. He doesn’t give a shit – pardon my expression – for, for… this. If he sees them returned, he might not want to have them counted in, you know, as cancelled [rulings].
FM: For me, it is important to see which council has taken them?
DPL: Consider it done. I’ll gather these three-four.
FM: Immediately and send them to me. Immediately.
DPL: In the next day or two when you are free, somebody will deliver them for you to see.
FM: Do that.
DPL: Agreed, bye.
This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.