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The third verdict of the Court of First Instance in Veles : convicting

Filed under: General — August 9, 2006 @ 1:42 am
No. P.359/02-II

IN THE NAME OF THE CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA!

THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE IN VELES, being penal court of first instance, in a Panel consisting of judge Valentin Zafirov, in capacity of the Chairman of the Panel, and the juror judges Stancev Dusko and Maja Simonovska, in capacity of members of the Panel, and the court clerk Natasa Perkova, dealing with the penal case against the defendant Toni Petrusevski from Sveti Nikole for the criminal offence embezzlement referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 of the Penal code, and the defendant Jovan Vraniskovski from Bitola for the criminal offence embezzlement referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with Article 23 paragraph 1 of the Penal code, formed upon Bill of Indictment No. PI 228/02 and 335/02 dated on 28th of November, 2002 of the Veles First Instance Public Prosecutor’s Office, after occurrence of the oral, public and main hearing in the presence of the Deputy Prosecutor Slavica Temelkovski, the defendant Toni Petrusevski and his defense counselor Kosta Nojkov, attorney at law, and the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski and his defense counselor Ivan Dimanov, attorney at law, on 23rd of September, 2005 has passed and announced to the public the following

V E R D I C T

The defendants :

1.TONI PETRUSEVSKI, of father Goce and mother Olgica, born on 31st of August, 1974 in Stip, residing in Sveti Nikole on 87 Karposeva St., Macedonian, citizen of the Republic of Macedonia, literate, having completed higher education - Major Seminary, unemployed, married, having served his military obligation, never convicted so far,

2.JOVAN VRANISKOSKI, of father Argir and mother Galena, born on 28th of February, 1966 in Bitola where he resides on 2/23 Kocanska St., literate, having completed higher education, Macedonian, citizen of the Republic of Macedonia, never married, property situation being poor, unemployed, being Metropolitan of Veles and Vardar Valley and Exarch of Ohrid voluntarily, having served his military obligation in 1984 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, not being subjected of military conscription, already convicted, with other proceedings for another criminal offences pending,

ARE GUILTY

BECAUSE :

On 10th of September, 2002 the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski induced the defendant Toni Petrusevski with a premeditation to appropriate illegally moneys being entrusted to him for another person, i.e., for the defendant Jovan, by issuing written order to collect moneys amounting to EUR 57,180 in counter value of MKD 3,487,980.00 from his Foreign Currency Savings Account No. 0005761645 with Stopanska bank AD, Branch Office in Veles, being paid to it on 17th of June, 2002 by the donor Komak Corporation from Austria as a donation for the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles, because there was no account in name of the Vardar Valley Diocese in Veles, and to hand the aforesaid amount to him personally, which the defendant Toni Petrusevski did although he was not employed by the aggrieved party, the Macedonian Orthodox church, by collecting the aforesaid amount on 16th of September, 2002 at the window of the Veles Branch of Stopanska Bank AD Skopje, and handing it to the defendant Jovan.

The defendant Toni Petrusevski committed the criminal offence embezzlement referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 of the Penal Code with the above described act, and the defendant Vraniskoski Jovan the criminal offence embezzlement referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 and in conjunction with Article 23 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code, therefore, pursuant to the aforesaid Articles and Articles 32, 35 and 39 of the Penal Code, they are hereby

S E N T E N C E D

the defendant TONI PETRUSEVSKI to a punishment of imprisonment for a period of 1 (one) year and 3 (three) months, the time spent in pre-trial confinement being calculated in it as of 26th of September, 200 until 1st of October, 2002, in accordance with Article 147 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code,

The defendant JOVAN VRANISKOSKI to a punishment of imprisonment for a period of 2 (two) years.

The defendants are due to pay the expenses of the penal proceedings in name of judicial flat rate, each of them the amount of MKED 2,500.00 within 15 days after entering into effect of this Verdict.

R a t i o n a l e

The Veles First Instance Prosecutor’s Office filed the Bill of Indictment No. PI 228/02 and 335/02 dated on 28th of November, 2002 against the defendant Toni Petrusevski from Sveti Nikole for the criminal offence embezzlement referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 of the Penal code and against the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski from Bitola, for the criminal offence referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 and in conjunction with Article 23 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code.

Pursuant to the aforesaid Bill of Indictment filed, the Court scheduled public, main and oral hearing during which the Court had examined the defendants Toni Petrusevski and Jovan Vraniskovski, read the statement of the witness Trifun Kostovski given upon the Report on Main Hearing dated on 19th of October, 2004, the statements of the witnesses Slave Jovanovski, Zoran Grozdanov and Dejan Mirsinov given upon the Report on Main Hearing on 22nd of June, 2004, the statement of the witness Mile Strbevski given upon the Report on Main Hearing dated on 15th of July, 2004 and presented the written evidence as follows : by reading of the Notification No. 01-1887 of the Veles Branch of Stopanska Bank AD Skopje dated on 30th of August, 2004; Notification No. 01-1543 of the Veles Branch of Stopanska Bank AD Skopje dated on 8th of July, 2004; the Report on Transfer of the secretarial duty of the Vardar Valley Diocese in Veles dated on 28th of April, 12004, photocopy of the Foreign Currency Savings Account No. 5918-99; Report No. 19 for transfer of the books of material operations of the Vardar Valley Diocese in Veles dated on 29th of March, 2001; Protocol No. 45 of the MOC to Kometal dated on 10th of April, 2002 and signed by Jovan of Veles and Vardar Valley, the clerical name and title of the defendant Jovan in that time; a photocopy of the Notification No. 248 of the OC dated on 5th of November, 2002 addressed to the investigative judge of the Court of First Instance in Veles and enclosed to the Appeal of the First Instance Public Prosecutor’s Office dated on 16th of July, 2003; Decision No. 142 of the MOC signed by the Metropolitan of Debar and Kicevo for appointment of an Acting Secretary dated on 21st of August, 2002; Decision No. 38 of the Diocese Managerial Board of the Diocese of Veles and Vardar Valley dated on 11th of April, 2001; Ruling No. 214 of the Chairman of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia dated on 17th of July, 2002, a photocopy of the document on depositing of EUR 57,000 donation in the foreign currency savings account of the defendant Toni Petrusevski, an Excerpt from the Account No. 0005761645 covering the period from 1st of April, 2002 to 26th of September, 2002; an order of the Metropolitan Jovan by virtue of Protocol No. 1016 dated on 10th of September, 2002; a Motion for a Prosecution No. 151 of the MOC dated on 25th of September, 2002; documents on the Project for the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles, the acts of the case No. I 3622/02 of the Court of Fist Instance in Veles, Decision No. 161 of the MOC dated on 6th of July, 2002; a letter of the Court of First Instance in Veles to the Stopanska Bank dated on 5th of September, 2005 signed by the Chairman of this Panel, the Notification NO. 01-1908 of the Veles Branch of Stopanska Bank dated on 6th of September, 2005 with a seal confirming receipt by the Court on 7th of September, 2005 and with an envelop with the same seal by which it has been delivered to the Court; Protocol No. 148 of the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia; Decision No. 305 of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod of the MOC dated on 7th of October, 2005; and an inspection into the Bookkeeping Journal for the year of 2002 ending with No. 167 has been made.

Evaluating the evidence presented as cited hereinabove, each evidence individually as well as all of it in the reciprocity thereof, according to free judicial belief the Court has established the following situation of the facts :

On 10th of September, 2002 the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski induced the defendant Toni Petrusevski with a premeditation to appropriate illegally moneys being entrusted to him for another person, i.e., for the defendant Jovan, by way of issuing written order to collect the amount of EUR 57,180 in counter-value of MKD 3,487,980.00 from his Foreign Currency Savings Account No. 000 5761645 with Veles Branch of Stopanska Bank ad Skopje, being paid to it on 17th of June, 2002 by the donor Komak Corporation form Austria as a donation for the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles due to lack of foreign currency account in name of the Diocese of Vardar Valley and Veles, and to hand the aforesaid amount to him personally, which the defendant Toni Petrusevski did although he was not employed by the aggrieved Macedonian Orthodox Church collecting the aforesaid amount on 16th of September, 2002 at the window of the Veles Branch of Stopanska Bank AD Skopje and handing it to the defendant Jovan personally.

the aforesaid situation of the facts has been established by the Court by virtue of the statement of the witness Slave Jovanovski citing that he is authorized to represent the MOC in this case by the very Power of Attorney filed in the case, and that he joins the prosecution of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and this joining was from the beginning of the case against both the defendants, and that he claims damages amounting to EUR 57,180 in counter-value of MKD 3,487,980.00. The witness Slave Jovanovski is authorized by the Holy Archpriests’ Synod of the MOC and by the head thereof kyr kyr Stephen to represent the MOC, while the witness Zoran Grozdanov had no right to put forward motion for prosecution or to repeal the prosecution on the main hearing, and kyr Stephen, i.e., the witness as the Metropolitan Timothy is exclusively authorized for it. He knows that the witness Zoran Grozdanov may not give statement and propone prosecution or repeal the prosecution because he was his superior in that period and he is his superior nowadays and knows that the witness may not dispose of with such a right, and the witness Zoran Grozdanov did not consult him when he was to present himself at the proceedings pending with regard to this case. regarding the donation of the money, the witness knew that there were discussions on donation between he witness Trifun Kostovski and the Vardar Valley Diocese, i.e., between the Head of the Vardar Valley Diocese in that time, which donation had been approved, nevertheless the funds from the donation approved by the witness Trifun Kostovski were not handed to the MOC by the defendant Jovan and the defendant Toni in spite they were demanded to do that in written and in person by kyr kyr Stephen to hand over all the finances available to them up to the moment of releasing from duty thereof.

out of the statement of the witness Zoran Grozdanov, The Court has established that he may not act with regard to prosecution of someone otherwise than what the will of the Archbishop is, and that being a layman, he did not know that there was a motion for prosecution of Toni Petrusevski, and he deemed that the aim is to get the money, but it was his personal opinion, because it was not known to him that there are various types of proceedings. The aforesaid complements and makes a logical totality with the statement of the witness Slave Jovanovski with regard that the witness Zoran Grozdanov might not put forward motion for prosecution or repeal a prosecution during the investigation and on the main hearing. When he received the summons of the Court, he used to inform the witness Slave thereof, but he could not inform him that the summons referred for this particular case because he did not know why he was summoned himself; therefore he did not get any concrete instructions by the witness Slave. The witness Zoran knew and he was informed that he was deprived from the right to represent the Vardar Valley Diocese by virtue of a written communication by the Archbishop of the MOC.

out of the statement of the witness Mile Strbevski, The Court has established that he was the Secretary of the Vardar Valley Diocese since 25th of April, 2001 until 18th of June, 2002 and that his acceptance of the duties of the Secretary was registered with a Report, but that he does neither remember whether it was written in the Report that he was handed a foreign currency bankbook of the Vardar Valley Diocese issued by Stopanska Bank, nor whether he had transferred the aforesaid bankbook upon Report when the transferred the aforesaid duty; but he remembers that such a foreign currency bankbook was issued by Stopanska Bank to Vardar Valley Diocese, and he does not whether it was active. He does not as well whether the defendant Jovan knew for the existence thereof, but he knew that moneys were to be received by Trifun Kostovski as a donation and that there was some obstacle with regard to the transfer thereof. Therefore the defendant Jovan ordered him to inquire with the banks and to open a foreign currency account of the Vardar Valley Metropolis for the purpose that the foreign currency from the sponsorship of Trifun Kostovski could be transferred to a giro account of the Diocese. Then he inquired with the Komercijalna Bank and with the Stopanska Bank, and got answer that the Vardar Valley Diocese may not have a foreign currency giro account, but he does not remember why. His inquiries wee about a foreign currency giro account, but not about a foreign currency savings account. Further he does not know anything else related to the sponsorship of Mr. Trifun Kostovski.

The Court has established the aforesaid situation of the facts also from the statement of the witness Trifun Kostovski who had donated funds amounting to EUR 57,000 for the reconstruction of the Cathedral Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles. he ;had donated the aforesaid funs after previous agreement in Skopje with the Diocese Archpriest of the Veles Diocese in that time, and the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski and his Secretary, the defendant Toni Petrusevski were present on the negotiations. The agreement was that the witness Trifun Kostovski would finance 4 projects for sanation of the church with regards to lighting, the heating, the carpentry and supply of public-address (loudspeaker) system thereof. He asked that 4 respective projects would be presented to him and it was done. The donation amounting to EUR 57,000 had been approved in accordance with those projects. However, after the information that the Veles Diocese had not a foreign currency account the donation was paid to the foreign currency account in name of the defendant Toni Petrusevski with Veles Branch of the Stpoanska Bank by virtue of mutual confidence particularly in Toni Petrusevski. the funds of the donation were transferred in June, 2002 from the enterprise of the witness Trifun ‘Komak Corporation’ in Switzerland, and the witness and the defendant Jovan agreed that they would inform them as donors on the stages and results of all the works done up to finalization thereof. The witness or his specialized departments were not informed on any spending of the funds of the donations, and during contacts with the contractors they were informed that they had not got any funds for the work on the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles as well. regarding that the moneys were drawn by the defendant Toni Petrusevski from his foreign currency savings account and handed to the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski, the witness found out from the media and asked to talk with the defendant Jovan Vraniskovski to return the funds to the Diocese because they were intended for ht sanation of the Church, and only the Diocese Church Authorities operating the Vardar Valley diocese might dispose of them. He also found out from the media that the defendant Jovan had deposed the moneys into the Court Treasury of the Court of First Instance in Veles within the framework of court proceedings. During the conversations with the defendant Jovan, he insisted that the moneys would be handed to the MOC, i.e., to the Diocese, so that they could be spent for the purpose they were intended for, but because the defendant Jovan Vraniskovski had already had problems with the MOC, and the defendant Jovan had never denied that the moneys were intended for financing of the project for reconstruction and sanation of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles during their conversations.

Out of the statement of the witness Dejan Mirsinov, the court has established that the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski talked with him as an owner of a construction enterprise ‘Deni Komerc’ while he was the Bishop of the Vardar Valley Diocese with regard to submitting offer for carpentry services and building thereof into he Church of St. Panteleymon, emphasizing that the funds necessary should be provided by a donation being subject of the talks with the representatives of the enterprise ‘Kometal’ which was property of the donor Trifun Kostovski. Nevertheless, when the defendant Jovan was replaced from the duties of the Vardar Valley Metropolitan, he called him and told him that the works on the Church of St. Panteleymon were stopped for the time being, and when the complications would be removed, he would be notified about it. Thus the witness Dejan, i.e., his enterprise ‘Deni Komerc’ did not begin with the works related to the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles.

The Court has established that the defendant Toni Petrusevski was appointed to be the Archivist and the Treasurer and the Administrator of a part of Diocese and Monasteries Funds by virtue of the Decision No. 48 dated on 11th of April, 2001of the Diocese Managerial Board of the Vardar Valley Diocese, and that a; monthly salary amounting to MKD 15,000.00 and a right to a food allowance was assigned to him.

The Court has established that the employment relationship of the defendant Toni Petrusevski with the Vardar Valley Diocese of the Macedonian Orthodox Church had been terminated by virtue of the Ruling No. 214 of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod dated on 17th of July, 2002.

The Court has established that such a donation is truly transferred to the savings account of the defendant Toni Petrusevski by virtue of the document for payment of the donation amounting to EUR 57,000.

It has been established that the donation amounting to EUR 57,000 was transferred to the account of Toni Petrusevski with Stopanska Bank and paid in a total of EUR 57,180 which means that the donation was paid in foreign currency together with the positive interest, by virtue of the Excerpt from the Account No. 0005761645.

The Court has established that the Metropolitan Jovan had ordered Toni Petrusevski to collect EUR 57,000 and to hand those to him personally by virtue of the Protocol No. 1016 of the Metropolitan Jovan Vraniskoski dated on 10th of September, 2002.

The Court has established that there was a motion for prosecution of the defendant Toni and of all the other persons participating in the act by virtue of the inspection into Protocol No. 151 dated on 25th of September, 2002.

By virtue of inspection into the acts of the case No. I. 3622/02 of the Court of First Instance in Veles, the Court has established that the proponer MOC had put forward a motion No. 20-184/10for issuance of a provisional measure ordering the Veles Branch of the Stopanska Bank AD Skopje not to pay any funds to anyone on any grounds from the foreign currency saving account of Toni Petrusevski as of receipt of the rulings and in the future, up to the end of the court lawsuit to be instituted against Toni Petrusevski; and that the Ruling NO. I 3622/02 dated on 26th of September, 2002 had been brought in these proceedings by virtue of which the motion of the proponer MOC for issuance a provisional measure filed through authorized representative, attorney at law Ane Vasilkov from Veles against the opponent Toni Petrusevski from Sv. Nikole, is deemed to be repealed.

The Court has established which funds were transferred from the old Secretary to the new Secretary of the Diocese by virtue of Report No. 19 of the Vardar Valley Diocese dated on 29th of March, 2001.

The Court has established everything that was transferred during the transfer of the secretarial duties of the Vardar Valley in Veles between the Deacon Dobrica Janev and the priest Zoran Grozdanov by virtue of the Report for transfer of the secretarial duties dated on 27th of August, 2002.

Out of the written notification No. 1-1543 by Veles Branch of the Stopanska Bank, the Court has established that during the time of the work of the defendants in accordance with the Regulations in effect in that time, the Vardar Valley Diocese or MOC could not own a foreign currency giro account or foreign currency savings account of their own where would be possible to pay or draw foreign currency, which coincides with the statement of the witness Mile Strbevski regarding that the Vardar Valley Diocese could not own a foreign currency account of its own. By virtue of the aforesaid written notifications, the Court has also established that foreign currency could not be paid on the foreign currency savings account No. 5918-19 issued on 7th of December, 1981.

The Court has established that the employment relationship of the Metropolitan Jovan with the Macedonian Orthodox Church on the position of the Metropolitan of Vardar Valley Diocese had been terminated as of 7th of August, 2002 by virtue of the Decision No. 246 of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod of the MOC dated on 7th of August, 2002.

The Court has established that the Holy Archpriests’ Synod of the MOC had called the defendant Jovan to return all the illegally appropriated church funds, inventory, vehicles etc. belonging to the Macedonian Orthodox Church by virtue of the Decision 305 dated on 7th of October, 2002.

Out of the Protocol No. 148 of the Macedonian Archbishopric dated on 5th of December, 2002 issued by the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, the Court has established that the contents thereof is identical to the photocopy enclosed to the Appeal of the Veles First Instance Public Prosecutor’s Office dated on 15th of July, 2003 to the Verdict No. P 359/2 dated on 16th of June, 2003; however the photocopy’s No. is 248 and it was dated on 5th of November, 2002. Nevertheless, when comparing it with the original Protocol NO. 148 with the photocopy No. 248, the Court has established that the contents thereof is identical regarding that the defendant Zoran Grozdanov was not authorized to speak on the motion for prosecution which he did, but it has not any legal effect, and that the Metropolitan Timothy (Slave Jovanovski) should be the representative of the Vardar Valley Diocese and the MOC in these proceedings and in other cases related to Vardar Valley Diocese. out of the Power of Attorney No. 114 dated on 22nd of June, 2004 the Court has established that the Macedonian Archbishopric of the MOC confirms the Motion for Prosecution put forward against the defendants.

out of the Bookkeeping Journal of the Macedonian Archbishopric, i.e., out of the inspection into the original Bookkeeping Journal, the Court has established that there is a Protocol No. 148 registered therein and dated on 5th of December, 2002 and under item ’subject’ it is stated that it had been delivered to the Court of Inquiry of the Court of First Instance in Veles and under the item ‘designation’ it I stated that the matter is for withdrawal of a statement of Zoran Grozdanov with regard to his jurisdictional Archpriest Timothy, , and the abbreviation AMB, which means Archbishopric \managerial Board, chaired by the Archbishop Stephen. The Court has established that the Bookkeeping Journal for the year of 2002 ends with No. 167.

The Court has evaluated also the defense of the defendant Toni Petrusevski who has stated that EUR 57,000 were paid to his foreign currency account by Mr. Trifun Kostovski, i.e., by the enterprise ‘Komak Corporation’ as previously agreed by him and the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski for the purpose of sanation of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles. After the expel of the Metropolitan Jovan at the beginning of July and after receipt of the Ruling for termination of this employment relationship with the Veles Metropolis, since they considered that they were expelled from the Metropolis and that the agreement between the Bishop and Mr. Kostovski regarding the donation still applies, he collected the total amount on 16th of September, 2002 upon written order by the Metropolitan Jovan stipulating that he would hand the funds to him personally. He had proceeded upon the order and the moneys were handed to the Metropolitan Jovan. Moreover, he deems the present representatives of the Veles Metropolis to be usurpers and that is why the moneys were collected, and that the donation by the witness Trifun was on his savings account resulted by the agreement between him and Jovan, he had promised to Jovan that he would draw them anytime when he asks him to and hand them to him at his disposal. Therefore, when he got the summons on his home address by the Court of First Instance in Veles regarding some Motion for Issuance of Provisional Measure put forward by the Macedonian Orthodox Church, he notified the defendant Jovan on this summons who had drawn up an order in his name for the purpose of their meeting in Veles and collecting of the donation by Trifun Kostovski from his savings account and handing it to him, since they were expelled illicitly, the defendant Jovan from his seat of Bishop of the Vardar Valley Diocese and himself from his position of Treasurer of the aforesaid Diocese. Thus he proceeded upon the order of Jovan because those funds were result of the agreement between Jovan and Trifun and intended for the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles and therefore he deemed that the use thereof was discretion of Jovan. Moreover, the defendant Toni considered that the purpose for which the moneys were donated by the sponsor would be observed for the defendant Jovan had given a public statement that the funds of the sponsor would be used for the purpose intended and would not be misused. In his opinion, the witness Trifun is a man whose will should be observed with regard to whether the moneys should be at Jovan’s, to be returned to him or to the Diocese, and as he had heard he expected that the money would be returned back to him in 7 days. He talked to the Bishop Jovan by cellular phone and explained the situation he was in before giving of the statement on 27th of September, 2002 in the preliminary investigation proceedings and he had promised that he should return the total amount the next day after giving the statement in preliminary investigation proceedings or on the first Monday to come at the latest, and he believed his word. As a matter of fact, while he was giving the written order to him, the defendant Jovan decidedly told the defendant Toni to collect the money for the purpose to hand them to him aiming to use them for the strict purpose of reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles, because it was agreed with the sponsor Trifun Kostovski. The defendant Toni knew that his employment relationship with the Vardar Valley diocese of the MOC was already terminated and that the defendant Jovan was removed from the position of the Vardar Valley Metropolitan, but he was not defrocked yet and therefore he was still a Bishop of the MOC, so the defendant Toni Petrusevski deemed that the money would not exit the framework of the MOC and that it was a matter of internal church conflict which would be settled within the framework of the MOC. However, the Court has not accepted the aforesaid defense of the defendant because the defendant had collected the money from his foreign currency savings account, and he stated in his very defense that those moneys were donated for the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon, i.e., that they were given to the Vardar Valley Diocese of the MOC, an he handed them to the defendant Jovan in spite he knew that the defendant Jovan was removed from his position, and he had done it upon the order of the defendant Jovan who was his superior, an it was contrary to the legal operations of the defendant Toni in capacity of a Treasurer. moreover, even when he had drawn the money from his foreign currency savings account he should have hand them to the MOC since they were intended for the Vardar Valley Diocese thereof with regard to reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon.

the Court has evaluated as well the defense of the defendant Jovan Vraniskoski who has stated that he, in capacity of the Metropolitan of Veles and Vardar Valley, included in his program the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon, which he considered to be of exceptional historical and cultural significance for the Macedonian people besides the religious one, and therefore he tried all the possible ways to obtain funds for it, and that in his opinion, it was God who helped him to come into contact with the witness Trifun Kostovski and to succeed to persuade him with regard to the need and significance of the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon. Thus the aforesaid, being a serious man and businessman and a Macedonian, agreed to donate great amount of funds. He had written and oral communication with the witness Trifun Kostovski on the aforesaid topic, presented him for inspection the projects drawn up with regard to the reconstruction of the Church, and even then the witness Kostovski agreed to donate EUR 57,000 which corresponded to the necessities included by the reconstructing of the Church. Because the Church might not dispose of a foreign currency account, and the witness Kostovski wanted to transfer them only on an account in foreign currency, aiming to avoid any suspicions, considering the amount of the money and the fact that he was the one who negotiated and the money were to be put on his account, he asked the Treasurer of the Diocese, the defendant Toni Petrusevski, the money from the donation of Trifun Kostovski to be transferred on his account aiming making possible the availability of the moneys for inspection, and the defendant Toni agreed to that. As he remembered, the money were transferred to the account of the defendant Toni in June, 2002 and stayed there for 3 to 4 months, and he had not demanded the defendant Toni to draw the money during that period at all, although they were in need for money for other purposes, but he did not want to use the moneys intended for the church of St. Panteleymon for other purposes, and he did not spent the moneys because he went on business trips for a long time, and then he heard on TV that Trifun Kostovski allegedly demanded his money to be returned to him. As far as he remembered, it was after the pre-trial confinement of Toni. He contacted the witness Trifun immediately manifesting his decidedness that the money would not be used for any other purpose than intended, and as soon he had a possibility to depose the money, he had deposed them to the Court in Veles. He has also stated that there is no guilt of the defendant Toni Petrusevski, because he had to draw the money if they were to be used for any purpose, and he had drawn them and handed them to the defendant Jovan, because the defendant Jovan told him so and the defendant Toni did not contact anyone but the defendant Jovan. The defendant Jovan did not know that the defendant Toni had received a Ruling for termination of his employment relationship with the MOC before he had issued him the order to draw the money, and he does not remember whether he talked with him before he had given him the order to draw the money from the account, but he thinks it is logical that he had talked to him, and does not remember whether the defendant Toni had informed him about some summons by the Court. the Court has not accepted this defense of the defendant since it is in contradiction with the defense of the defendant Toni regarding that Toni stated that he had informed the defendant Jovan on the proceedings for issuance of provisional measure with the Court related to the moneys donated for the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon, and the Court considers the defense as given to diminish and avoid penal liability of the defendant Toni, for the defendant Jovan stated in his defense that the defendant Toni put the moneys on his foreign currency savings account upon his order and had drawn the money from it and handed them to him upon his order, and that he gave the aforesaid orders to the defendant Toni in capacity of his superior besides the employment relationship with the Macedonian Orthodox Church on the position of the Metropolitan of the Vardar Valley Diocese of the defendant Jovan terminated by virtue of Decision No. 246 of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod of the MOC dated on 7th of August, 2002, and therefore he was not employed with the MOC any more. As the money of the donation amounting to EUR 57,000 were donated for the reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles, the defendant could not take the aforesaid money but he had to hand them to the MOC, due to the very reason that he himself in his defense stated that those money were given to the Vardar Valley Diocese of the MOC for the purpose of reconstruction of the Church of St. Panteleymon in Veles.

Out of the aforesaid situation of the facts established, the Court has found that all the elements of the criminal offence ‘embezzlement’ referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 of the Penal Code are contained in the act of the defendant Toni Petrusevski, and therefore pronounces the defendant to be guilty for this criminal offence to imprisonment for a period of 1 year and 3 months. Furthermore the Court has found that all the elements of the criminal offence referred to in Article 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with paragraph 1 and in conjunction with Article 23 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code are contained in the act of the defendant Jovan Vraniskovski, and therefore hereby pronounces him guilty and sentences him to a punishment of imprisonment for a period of 2 years.

When deciding on the type and the amount of the punishment has taken into account the degree of the penal liability of the defendants, the social danger of such criminal offences, the fact that he defendant Jovan Vraniskovski has been convicted already so far, the consequence of the criminal offence with regard that the purpose of the donation as aggravating circumstance, and the fact that the defendant Toni Petrusevski has never been convicted so far, the correct attitude of the defendants before the Court as the extenuating circumstances; and that the punishments of imprisonment pronounced shall influence the defendants enough not to commit such or similar criminal offence as well as the environment where the defendants live and work, i.e., the people of the circle of theirs restrain from committing of such or similar criminal offences.

Because the defendants were pronounced to be guilty, they are due to pay the expenses of the penal proceedings as a judicial flat rate amounting to MKD 2,500.00 each of them, within 15 days as of entering into effect of the verdict.

Chairman of the Panel:
Judge Valentin Zafirov

Court Clerk :
Natasa Perkova

LEGAL PRECEPT :

An appeal may be lodged to the Court of Appeals in Skopje through this Court within 15 days since receipt thereof.

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