The Latest: Albania: Fugitive pol used Hungary embassy’s car
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Latest on Macedonia’s fugitive former prime minister (all times local):
Police say a fugitive politician from Macedonia left Albania on Sunday evening in a vehicle belonging to the Hungarian Embassy in Albania.
If accurate, the information in a statement from Albanian police on Thursday shows part of the route former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski took from his homeland and through the Balkans to reach Hungary.
Nikola Gruevski, who fled Macedonia rather than serve a two-year prison term for corruption, said Tuesday on Facebook that he was in Budapest and seeking political asylum.
The police statement also implies that the Hungarian government was involved in some of his passage. Earlier, the Hungarian government said it did not assist Gruevski in leaving Macedonia.
Asked about the statement, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office said it would not comment until the asylum review process concluded.
Albanian police noted that when Gruevski left Albania and entered Montenegro, an international warrant for his arrest had not been issued yet.
The Hungarian government said Thursday it did not assist the fugitive former prime minister of Macedonia in leaving his homeland to avoid a prison sentence.
Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, said that Nikola Gruevski, who fled Macedonia rather than serve a two-year prison term for corruption, declared his intent to file for asylum at an unnamed Hungarian diplomatic office outside Macedonia.
Gulyas said authorities “did not have anything to do with” the 48-year-old Gruevski fleeing Macedonia and said it was “guaranteed” that Gruevski can’t leave Hungary.
Macedonia has called on Hungary to extradite Gruevski, who was prime minister from 2006-2016.
Hungarian authorities “are proceeding according to appropriate security protocols” regarding Gruevski, Gulyas told reporters, adding that Orban was “very amused” by reports that Gruevski, a close political ally, was living at his house.