Problematic players in the casino business

Owners of casinos in Macedonia are problematic. With imported hundreds of millions of Euros to the Macedonian border with Greece, casinos remind of gambling mecca, such as Macau, Estonia or Las Vegas. But what do heads of the gambling industry hide? Center for Investigative Journalism SCOOP Macedonia investigated the conflicts with the law of the owners of temples of dice in Macedonia, casinos Flamingo and Princess, as second part of this investigation.   Novomatic scandals   The world’s largest company in gaming Novomatic Ag, based in Austria, has been involved in several scandals in countries where it operates. According to Bloomberg, “casinos in Paraguay, Peru and South Africa – countries where Novomatic operates – have been marked by the US as pipes for money laundering by criminal bosses and drug barons”. Several scandals revolve around former key people of...

Macedonia becomes Balkan Las Vegas: low standards and too much gambling

  DOCUMENTS (Note: Documents for all companies are attached on links to their names. To view them click on link DOCUMENTS)     Macedonia is at the bottom of the list of Balkan countries by foreign direct investments. Official figures show that in 2013 Macedonia attracted only 251 million Euros foreign investments, Montenegro 350 million, Bosnia and Herzegovina 300 million, while the same year Kosovo registered 259 million Euros. However, not everything is so black. Games of chance are booming in the country. From 2009 to 2015 the Ministry of Finance in Macedonia licensed six casinos with 16 subsidiaries and a record 59 slot machine casinos. “The greater the poverty, the bigger the number of betting shops and casinos”, says Dimko Kokaroski, former deputy finance minister and current professor at the Faculty of Economics in Prilep. “The greater the...

Poor municipalities hinder development outside the capital

Failing to comply with the Law on Balanced Regional Development and taking money from the concession of natural resources, the state economically exhausts the municipalities. These conditions revolt citizens from other towns. Stojan from Kocani is unhappy how the state allocates money. “Everything is built in Skopje. Nothing in the other parts of Macedonia. It seems that once Skopje 2014 has been launched, no penny has been given apart from the capital”, says Stojan. He adds that the current government respects neither laws nor rules. One of these laws is the Law on Balanced Regional Development and general revival of the municipalities. Little money and its peculiar distribution, this is the dilemma that creates confusion for Mladen Protic, head of the Centre for Development of Northeast Planning Region. “Since 2009, we, as the least developed region, have received 1...

Мunicipalities operate only for administration’s salaries, not for the citizens

Instead of government closer to citizens, municipalities are increasingly becoming institutions operating only for administration’s salaries. The investigation by SCOOP Macedonia shows that the increase in the number of employees before each cycle of local elections has led to a situation where more municipalities encash taxes and generate income only for employees’ salaries. Very few funds remain for paving streets, maintaining parks, schools or other areas important to the citizens. Salaries “eat” the money for exercise of powers Amazing 71% of the budget of the Municipality of Dolneni is spent on administration’s salaries. The payroll of this small Pelagonija municipality covers 31 people, of which 27 for an indefinite period of time and 4 for a definite period of time. We tried to get in touch with the mayor Boshe Miloshevski on how the municipality persists in these circumstances, but...

Party employment for dysfunctional municipalities

Municipality Rankovce is a leader by the number of employees in Macedonia. For 10 years this community has increased its staff by five times. In 2005 the municipality had 6 employees, while in 2014 their number rose to 31 people. Municipality Dolneni has had the same recruitment process for the past 10 years as Rankovce. But unlike Rankovce, this Pelagonija municipality has three times more inhabitants than Rankovce. Third place, according to the growth of the municipal administration holds the municipality of Tetovo. From 2005 to 2014 it increased the number of its employees by 4.5 times. In Tetovo half of the budget goes for administration’s salaries. According to the mayor of Rankovce, Momcilo Aleksovski, overstaffing impedes functioning. “The biggest issue is the Fire Department. We have 9 firefighters who receive their salary from the municipal budget. First salaries...

Babies die due to bureaucratic obstacles

Petar is a young, 30-year-old man from a town in Macedonia. We met him to tell us the agony he went through trying to ensure prompt transport for operation of his newborn in Bulgaria. He excitedly tells what mazes he went through in those 7 days after the birth of his second child, who immediately after his birth had heart defect detected and a breathing problem. Hospital costs per country for the period 2011 – 2015 No. Country 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 1 Austria 6,022,104.00 10,887,583.00 7,195,880.00 2,350,080.00 2,478,900.00 2 Czech Republic 606,699.00 982,545.00 474,199.00 3 Belgium 614,725.00 8,433,335.00 1,051,494.00 697,318.00 281,498.00 4 Bulgaria 38,105,800.00 32,292,241.00 13,921,683.00 7,976,014.00 2,097,890.00 5 Germany 19,974,148.00 5,831,159.00 77,469,544.00 60,479,939.00 1,757,686.00 6 Greece 4,125,546.00 970,274.00 15,447,685.00 13,567,539.00 7 Croatia 1,591,974.00 5,273,693.00 2,728,141.00 2,014,219.00 532,733.00 8 Israel 5,066,894.00 946,596.00 1,855,362.00 9 Russia 4,900,224.00 141,721.00...

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