Sunday, July 27, 2008

Macedonian president investigated by tax authorities

Macedonian tax authorities have initiated an investigation into the properties of president Branko Crvenkovski, Macedonian daily Dnevnik said on July 24 2008.

According to the paper, as of the beginning of July banks and other financial institutions, as well as the Macedonian finance ministry, were sent strictly confidential requests to provide data about any financial operations of the Crvenkovksi family over the past five years. Similar requests were sent to institutions in all former Yugoslav republics, as well as other Balkan countries.

The tax authorities neither confirmed, nor denied, the information about the requests, saying that these issues were confidential, Dnevnik said.

Crvenkovski's office was quoted by Dnevnik as saying that the president supported the fight against corruption and had nothing against the checks, as long as they were carried out in an objective and non-selective way. At the same time, however, it described them as "tendentious" and requested to be informed whether the prime minister and other cabinet ministers were subjected to the same checks, as proof that he was not being singled out.

Upon becoming prime minister in 2002, Crvenkovski declared a 61 sq m apartment in Skopje, a 1995 Volkswagen Polo worth 270 000 denars (4400 euro), as well as a stock portfolio worth 619 000 denars (10 100 euro) in his name and a further 35 700 denars (580 euro) in a current account in his wife's name.

The monthly salary of the Macedonian president is 73 600 denars (1200 euro), Dnevnik said, noting that upon taking up the presidential office in 2004, Crvenkovski did not fill in a new declaration, but he did tell the relevant state institutions that the old one was still valid.

According to Macedonian law, elected officials are required to declare any acquisitions of wealth or property, both concerning themselves and their first-degree relatives, that exceeds in value 20 average salaries for the preceding quarter, Dnevnik said.

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