SCOOP reveals political parties’ property: from fields and pastures to luxury apartments and buildings
Shops, yards, fields, buildings, flats…This is just part of the ownership of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE, which appears as the owner of 100 title deeds where places unknown to the general public can be seen. The biggest properties owned by the party of ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski are in Saraj, Kisela Voda and Centar, where VMRO-DPMNE owns buildings, apartments and pastures. Unlike them, SDSM owns far smaller property; the main one is located at Bihacka Street. DUI is ranked third in the official list of acquired property, whereas DPA does not appear to own property.
VMRO-DPMNE with biggest property
According to documents obtained by SCOOP, VMRO-DPMNE owns property in almost all municipalities in Macedonia. The party has a property even in Mal Papranik, a place with hardly fifty houses.
Nikola Gruevski’s party has most title deeds in the municipality Saraj – eight, in the municipality Centar 7, 6 in Kisela Voda. Two title deeds are in Jegunovce, Brvenica, Karpos, Gradovci, Ilinden, Ohrid, Gostivar and Mogila while in Delcevo there are three property deeds.
The party has a title deed in Berovo, Pehcevo, Novaci, Bitola, Makedonski Brod, Plasnica, Vinica, Bogdanci, Gevgelija, Nov Dojran, Stojakovo, Kamenica, Demir Hisar, Rosoman, Kavadarci, Drugovo, Kicevo, Zrnovci, Kocani, Obleshevo, Orizari, Kratovo, Kriva Palanka, Rankovci, Krusevo, Kumanovo, Malo Nagorichane, Demir Kapija, Negotino, Krivogashtani, Ropotovo, Probistip, Radovis, Resen, Lozovo, Butel, Mirkovci, Petrovec, Sopishte, Gorce Petrov, Gazi Baba, Vevcani, Struga , Bosilovo, Vasilevo, Kuklis, Novo Selo, Strumica, Tearce, Tetovo, Gradsko, Veles, Chaska, Tarinci and Stip.
However, the most striking is the building of the VMRO-DPMNE party headquarters, located in the very city center, and in the past period there were party disagreements related to it.
In the documents that SCOOP-Macedonia owns obtained from the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre of the Republic of Macedonia, it is stated that of the entire building where the VMRO-DPMNE party headquarters is located, the party owns a total of 675 square meters. In the building itself, which the party claimed it had not invested a penny for, VMRO-DPMNE owns eight flats, also balconies and utility rooms. According to the party, the building has been built with public-private ownership.
But SDSM claimed the opposite.
“If we take into account that in municipality Centar the average price of a square meter is above 1,200 Euros, that means that about 15 million Euros were given for VMRO-DPMNE new headquarters! If we go by the logic of the cost of newly constructed buildings from Skopje 2014, which cost 3,000 Euros per m2, then the building costs over 35 million Euros”, said SDSM spokesman Petre Shilegov regarding the construction of the building where VMRO-DPMNE moved.
The mayor of municipality Centar Andrej Zernovski has so far at least twice announced he would pull down the balcony of the new building where VMRO-DPMNE is located because he claimed it had been illegally built, but this has not happened so far.
According to the website of the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre, a square meter in the very center of the city is 1,100 Euros per square meter. If this amount is multiplied by the area which Gruevski’s party currently owns, rough estimates indicate that they have property worth at least 742,500 Euros just at one location in Skopje. But the sum is much greater if we consider that around the building there are 1,015 square meters of undeveloped land, also owned by Gruevski’s party. According to the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre the market price of such land in the city center is on average around 1,000 Euros per square meter.
Two years ago VMRO-DPMNE confirmed that in the past they bought property in several towns across the country, but the public has not found out about that property and its value yet. It was only pointed out that the tax had been paid. According to SDSM, their political opponents have property worth 11 million Euros, most of it bought in 2014.
But the party appears as owner of a number of other properties. It owns 246 square meters of the famous building of “Pelagonija” which is located next to Porta Macedonia as well as part of the premises on Cvetan Dimov Street.
The party has a few apartments and shops in Skopje settlement Kisela Voda and property in Saraj, part of which are pastures.
VMRO-DPMNE owns apartments with total area of 374 square meters in the center of Bitola. If calculated according to the amount of sales of buildings on the website of the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre, this property roughly costs about 187,000 Euros if it is 500 Euros per square meter.
In many other places VMRO-DPMNE possesses land, apartments, various facilities, and in Krusevo even a building that in the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre is registered as a joint stock company.
“Bihacka” – the greatest wealth of SDSM
Unlike VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM has far smaller property. The biggest one is the party headquarters building located on Bihacka Street in the center of Skopje. In the hands of Zoran Zaev’s party there is a total of 2,042 square meters, which roughly calculated according to market prices would be assessed as property worth more than 2 million Euros. The building caused an enormous public attention on the information that ex SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski has mortgaged the party property. But then there was an announcement by Komercijalna banka claiming that it was about a mortgage loan of one million Euros and not a donation as some media speculated. According to Petre Shilegov, SDSM spokesman, the party is still repaying the loan for the property on Bihacka Street.
Of the larger properties, SDSM has 507 square meters in Bitola and two title deeds in Negotino, Kriva Palanka and Struga. Zaev’s party with one title deed appears in Centar, Lozovo, Resen, Krusevo, Kavadarci, Bogdanci and Valandovo.
Except SDSM, no other of the four parties publicly discloses financial reports on their work where we can see the revenue and expenditure of the party in the previous year.
DUI with three buildings in Skopje and fields in Debreshte
Although located in a two storey house in Mala Recica, DUI still officially owns property in other places. So in the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre it is registered that DUI owns property in Skopje’s Cair, where they own 274 square meters, not counting the yard of the building of 318 square meters where the party is located. When one considers the figures of Cadastre for sale of land in this area, then we can roughly calculate that the party owns property of about 355,000 Euros.
DUI owns business premises of 413 square meters in the shopping center “Mavrovka”. They also have large fields in Prilep Debreshte.
Whose is the property – DPA or NDP’s?
DPA is not registered as owner of land or buildings in the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre. When we asked for information about the property of DPA, from the Cadastre they gave us information that under the specific identification number was another legal entity – the political party NDP of Rufi Osmani. It still owns part of a large forest property in Tetovo Selce.
DPA, as it is publicly known, is located in the center of Tetovo, in offices owned by the joint stock company “Komunaproekt” from Tetovo.
(The story was is supported within the NED project “Raising Awareness about Corruption through Investigative Reporting”)