Macedonian intel chief accused of bribery in Israel deal

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia’s main left-wing opposition leader on Wednesday accused the head of the country’s intelligence service of taking a large bribe for a surveillance equipment deal with Israel in 2011.

Zoran Zaev, head of the Social-Democratic Alliance for Macedonia, released illegally recorded conversations he says details how intelligence service head Saso Mijalkov, his aide and an individual from Israel are arranging the money transfer for the bribe. Zaev didn’t specify the amount, but said it involved “many zeroes.”

Mijalkov has denied the accusations, saying a “donation” of 5.5 million euros ($5.9 million) was received for “purchasing equipment for special police units,” according to the local Netpres news agency.

The recording is the latest in a series of wiretapped material that Zaev has released that he claims reveals corruption at the highest level of government.

Zaev claims Premier Nikola Gruevski is behind the recordings, which a source passed onto him. Gruevski denies wrongdoing and has accused Zaev of plotting a coup.