Macedonians sought over wiretap scandal arrested in Greece

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Two Macedonian former officials sought by Skopje over a wiretap scandal that rocked the government last year have been arrested in Greece, police said. The two men, aged 51 and 35, were arrested at Thessaloniki airport with fake Bulgarian passports. Police said they were attempting to travel to Hungary.

Both men have asked not to be returned to Macedonia, claiming their lives are in danger. They were arrested under an Interpol warrant for “high-technology crimes” committed in Macedonia, police said.

The wiretap scandal erupted in February last year, when then opposition leader Zoran Zaev began releasing tapes that appeared to reveal official wiretapping of 20,000 Macedonians, including politicians and journalists, and high-level corruption.

The scandal sparked major protests both for and against the government of then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, leading the European Union to step in and mediate a deal last summer. Zaev subsequently won the election that followed.

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