Hungary Denies Having Helped Fugitive Balkan Ex-Premier's Escape

(Bloomberg) -- Hungary denied having played a role in the escape of Republic of Macedonia’s ex-premier from his homeland this week, where he was due to begin a two-year prison term for abuse of office.

Nikola Gruevski notified a Hungarian diplomatic mission in a third country that he was seeking political asylum in Hungary, Gergely Gulyas, the minister in charge of the prime minister’s office in Budapest, told reporters on Thursday. He declined to say whether Hungary helped Gruevski to travel to Budapest. Gruevski traveled with a national identification card, he said.

Hungary cited security reasons for its decision to hear the asylum request of Gruevski, who led Macedonia for a decade until 2016. He resigned following a scandal triggered by leaked tapes that alleged his government illegally wiretapped more than 20,000 people. He was convicted for ordering a tender for an armored Mercedes limousine for his personal use.

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