BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Macedonia’s former prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, has been granted asylum in Hungary, the Magyar Idok newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Gruevski, who resigned in 2016 after 10 years in power, fled the country six months after being sentenced to two years in prison on corruption-related charges.
Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant after he failed to show up to begin his sentence, following a Nov. 9 court ruling against his motion for a reprieve.
The Magyar Idok newspaper, which did not name its sources, said the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office had established that the legal conditions to grant asylum had been met.
Neither the immigration office nor a Hungarian government spokesman were immediately available for comment.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban supported the nationalist Gruevski in the run-up to Macedonia’s 2017 elections and praised his party’s efforts to halt migrants passing through the Balkans to Western Europe.
Orban’s office has said it considered Gruevski’s asylum request to be solely a legal issue to be handled by the competent authority.
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina Than; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)