The Italian newspaper La Verita reports on the developing scandal in Macedonia, in which Zoran Zaev’s Secretary General Dragi Raskovski was reportedly involved in the awarding of a 7.7 million EUR deal to an Italian company.
The deal was awarded to procure air traffic control systems, with the help of an EBRD loan. The Italian paper focuses on the slurs Raskovski used for the Italians, and the headline is Raskovski’s memorable quote about the Italians: “they are Gypsies, just like us”.
The constantly unstable Macedonia is involved in a new corruption scandals in the past days, which involves the Italian company Leonardo. The plan of the Macedonian organizers presumably was to accept the Italian offer in order to distribute European funds through their national air traffic controller, the paper reports.
Raskovski confirmed that it is his voice in the audio tape that was leaked, but denied any wrongdoing. He is clearly heard discussing the competing offers with representatives from the air traffic control authority M-NAV, and uttering a series of insults at the Italians, calling them not actually European, unlike the Germans. Zaev’s right hand man goes on to explain a theory about the cultural differences of races depending on how close to the Equator they live, clearly not having an idea where the equator actually is.
Raskovski is expected to hold a press conference on the issue later today. Media outlets close to the Government insist that the Government was involved in the procurement because of an unspecified incident that occurred with the air traffic control systems.