A federal judge has ordered the repatriation of $2.3 million traced to last year's collapse of St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union from a Macedonian bank as authorities try to determine if the funds were among those siphoned from the onetime $240 million-asset credit union.
The funds were transferred to Capital Bank AD by Koljo Nikolovski, a purported Macedonian crime figure who is being tried on charges of participating in a $170 million fraud that sunk the credit union.
Federal prosecutors said Nikolovski's nephew personally tried to access the funds in Skopje, Macedonia, but was turned away because he did not have valid power of attorney.
Koljo Nikolovski is in prison awaiting trial on charges of siphoning up to $5 million from the credit union through a bribery and phony-loan scheme that allegedly earned the credit union's chief executive, Anthony Raquez, more than $500,000 in exchange for approving the loans.
Raquez allegedly approved the loans even though Nikolovski and the other borrowers had no intention of repaying them.
The failure of St. Paul Croatian has spread beyond the shores of Lake Erie to several credit unions and a nearby church that had uninsured deposits in the credit union.
The National Credit Union Administration claims that the credit union helped to finance an $8 million Ponzi scheme that bilked dozens of parishioners of St. Paul Croatian Church, the credit union's chief sponsor.