The European Union commissioner in charge of membership policy says he wants answers into how and why a former FYROM prime minister wanted for corruption in his home country was granted political asylum in Hungary.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Hungary should explain why it granted asylum to Nikola Gruevski who fled the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on November 9 after a court sentenced him to two years in prison for abuse of power.

Gruevski had been convicted in May of using state money to buy a €600,000 armoured Mercedes for personal travel.

Gruevski said on November 20 that Hungary had granted asylum because he faced “political persecution” and death threats in FYROM. The 48-year-old is a close friend of right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

But EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who heads the bloc’s membership policy, wrote on Twitter that it was “surprising” Hungary may have granted asylum on those grounds when it also supported FYROM’s bid to join the EU. @JHahnEU tweeted: “I take note of reports about #Hungary’s decision to grant political asylum to @GruevskiNikola. If confirmed, I expect a sound explanation of its grounds by @Viktor_Orban.” And continue in a second post: “The #RuleofLaw remains a fundamental principle for Member States and accession candidates alike”.