Russian businessman of Greek origin Ivan Savvidi transferred some 300,000 euros to opponents of the renaming of Macedonia, according to a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which references documents from the Macedonian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The money was transferred to dozens of Macedonian politicians from different parties, members of newly created nationalist organisations and football hooligans who participated in the protests.
Ivan Savvidi, a billionaire of Greek origin, spent most of his life in Russia. In 2003 he was elected a deputy to the State Duma. The businessman founded the management company AGROCOM Group, which includes the Tabak factory and Rostov-on-Don international airport.
The press service of the company denied the published information. Representatives of the AGROCOM Group intend to file a lawsuit against the publication of BuzzFeed, which also published data on Savvidi.
Last month, the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed an agreement on the new official name of Macedonia – the Republic of Northern Macedonia. It will come into force within six months, if approved by the Greek parliament.
Greece was not satisfied with the name of the Republic of Macedonia, because one of its regions is also called Macedonia. On Greek maps, the state was called the Republic of Skopje after the name of its capital city. The dispute between the two counties hampered the integration of Macedonia into a number of international European structures, including NATO.