No relief in the laws on possible crimes in the Israeli equipment deal

Photo: Chris Potter/flickr, 2013

Long-term prison sentences are envisioned for everyone involved in the illegal commissions scandal, dereliction of duty, as well as facilitation and payment of bribes during the deal to procure Israeli military equipment if they are proven guilty by the courts.


Long-term prison sentences are envisioned for everyone involved in the illegal commissions scandal, dereliction of duty, as well as  facilitation and payment of bribes during the deal to procure Israeli military equipment if they are proven guilty by the courts.


Writer: Stojanka Mitreska


Legal experts consulted by Truthmeter, state that during the sentencing deliberations laws don’t offer any circumstances that could lead to lighter sentences, except the level of the guilt and damages caused. Another important feature will include the influence on others involved, as well as prime suspect’s official position:

There are no legal remedies leading to lighter sentence in a case like this, only impediments. No legal maneuvering is available if a head of state institution is found guilty. There can be no legal remedies in such circumstances, says attorney Dzvonko Davidovikj.

According to the criminal charges submitted by SDSM on 7. April 2015, Sasho Mijalkov (fmr. Head of the Secret Police) is suspected of “accepting bribery”, envisioned as punishable according to Article 357, Paragraph 5, and relating to Paragraph 1 in the Criminal Code (CC) as well as for dereliction of duties and authority, stated in Article 353, Paragraph 5 and relating to Pgf. 1 from the CC.



The Criminal code provides 4 to 10 years prison sentence for accepting bribery. If it could be proven that the ex-director of the Administration for Security and Counter Intelligence (UBK) gained larger property benefits while committing the offence, the highest sentence stated in the Criminal code is at least five years. However, if the investigation procedure proves that the former director of UBK breached his duties and authority (Article 353, Paragraph 5 and relating to Pgf. 1 from CC), Mijalkov could be sentenced to additional three more years.

By the end of November last year (26 November 2015), the Office of the Special Prosecutor informed that the package of cases originating from the wiretapped audio materials and requested by the team of the Special Prosecutor Katitsa Janeva, also contains the case of the Israeli equipment purchase. The opposition party, SDSM, last spring handed over a CD containing recording as evidence, transcripts from the conversations, SMS messages and a document for the foreign citizen, Haim Hakeini.

Some of the legal experts close to the government deny the validity of the wiretapped audio materials, as an evidence in a court procedure, emphasizing that these recordings have been illegally acquired. Or, as professor Tanja Karakamisheva Jovanovska emphasizes, materials that were acquired by committing a crime. On the opposite side of this opinion, attorney Dzvonko Davidovikj says that the enclosed materials cannot, on no account, be denied as directions for starting an investigation procedure:

“The use of the wiretapped materials as evidence can be denied, but they cannot be denied as an indication. If during the Israeli equipment case investigation, it is confirmed that a cash exchanged hands , there is a high level of suspicion that  a crime has been committed”, says attorney Davidovikj for Truthmeter.

Punishments for perpetrators of “accepting bribery” are contained in Article 357 (1) that sets the sentences for these crimes, and it states that “an official who directly or indirectly requests or receives a gift or other benefit, or accepts a promise for a gift or other benefit for himself/herself, or conducts a forbidden official act, or not conducting an official act that was supposed to be conducted, shall be sentenced to imprisonment from four to ten years.Svetlana Kostova is a suspect in the same offence as well, according to SDSM, because of the help provided in committing the criminal offence:

If a person, having a criminal intent, helps in the process of committing a criminal offence, she/he will be sentenced as if the crime was committed by her/him, or could be sentenced less. (Helping article 24 (1) CC).

According to the Criminal code, actions considered as helping during perpetrating criminal offence are: advising or guiding to committing a criminal offence, allowing the perpetrator to commit a criminal offence, removing the obstacles for committing a criminal offence, as well as promise given in advance for hiding the perpetrator’s criminal offence, promise for hiding resources with which a criminal offence is committed, promise for hiding traces from the criminal offence or promise for hiding items acquired by committing a criminal offence.

The perpetrator shall be imprisoned for at least five years, if a significant property benefit has been acquired by committing a criminal offence, it is said in the Criminal code.

In the audio recording (bomb no. 15) presented last year by the opposition leader Zoran Zaev, Kostova in several phone conversations with the third suspect Haim and the prime suspect, currently ex-director of DBK Sasho Mijalkov, allegedly negotiated a reward, which, according to SDSM’s claims, has been given by XX (unknown) firm from Israel, represented by the third suspect Haim, and has been received by prime suspect Mijalkov, for executing a work related activity, one forbidden by law, i.e. purchasing equipment from an Israeli firm, for a significantly higher price than the one that was supposed to be realistically paid, from the Budget of Republic of Macedonia. Also, in the wiretapped audio recordings and the presented SMS messages published by Zaev, a commission worth 540,000 euro has been negotiated and paid on 5. April 2011. Furthermore, another 200,000 euro have been allegedly paid, whereas alleged 840,000 euro, have been paid of 23 May 2011 by XX (unknown) firm, belonging to the third suspect Haim, to XX (unknown) firm, belonging to prime suspect Mijalkov.



Sentences for irresponsible behavior, while holding a public office are set in the article 353-v (1) in the Criminal code, and are quoted in the opposition’s criminal charges as criminal offences conducted by Mijalkov and Kostova. The Code states that “an official breaching his/her duty, going beyond his/her official authority, or failing to perform his/her official duty shall be imprisoned in a time period of six months up to three years.” Or, if the mentioned criminal offence is committed while performing of public procurement activities, or to the detriment of the resources from the Budget of Republic of Macedonia, or public trusts, or other state resources, the perpetrator shall be imprisoned for at least five years.

Calling upon the wiretapped conversations, SDSM claims that the intermediary in the suspicious purchase is Hakini, criminal offense suspect, as the opposition party claims, for whom the Criminal code sets a prison sentence from one to five years:

One who directly or indirectly gives, promises or offers a gift or other benefit to an official or to somebody else in order to be able to perform forbidden official act or not performing mandatory official act that must have been performed or the one who mediates such acts, shall be imprisoned in a period of one to five years. (Bribery Section, Article 358 (1)).

The social democrats submitted criminal charges for bribery and breach of duty against the involved in the scandal of the alleged bribes for Israeli equipment around 11 months ago. Petre Shilegov, SDSM’s spokesperson, who in April last year submitted the criminal charges, stated that during 2011, the prime suspect Sasho Mijalkov received commission of 840,000 euro, 540,000 euro and 200,000 euro as a reward for concluding an equipment purchasing contract, for significantly higher price.

By doing so, Sasho Mijalkov has been bribed and breached his duty and authority as well. The second suspect, Svetlana Kostova, helped the primary suspect and mediated the reward payment, as well as the equipment purchasing contract. The third suspect committed a criminal offence by arranging and paying the reward, Shilegov stated.

When the opposition leader Zoran Zaev published the (15th) “bomb” regarding the high figure commission for purchasing Israeli equipment, he stated that it contains evidence showing most direct corruption:

No codes are mentioned in these audio evidences, everything is crystal clear. They talk about exact amounts, with a plenty of zeros, which end up being received by Sasho Mijalkov.

Immediately after the audio material regarding the outrageous purchase has been published, the Ministry of Interior came up with a claim that the deal was a donation, and notified that will submit criminal charges against Zaev, due to the fact that he revealed a state secret, a criminal offence for which the Criminal code provides an imprisonment sentence of up to 10 years (article 317 CC). According to MOI, the mentioned commission was not in a form of bribery, yet a bank commission:

The deal constitutes Israeli donation in 2011, and in no way a purchase of wiretapping equipment mentioned nowhere in the conversations. The donation is for equipping the special forces. Namely, as R. Macedonia’s proven friend, they offered help and we mutually estimated that the help should be in form of an equipment for raising battle readiness of our special forces. They transferred 5,557,377 euro to the company that had to purchase the equipment. Out of that amount, 4,413,330 euro were transferred to the equipment manufacturer, whereas the rest of 1,144,047 euro were paid to the budged of R. Macedonia, regarding the customs expenses and VAT. The special forces received the equipment and it is currently in use (MOI’s press release published on 2. April 2015, one day after Zaev’s Israeli equipment press conference).


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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.

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