Seven held after murder of Slovakian reporter Jan Kuciak

Three Slovak Officials Resign Following Journalist's Death
Slovak premier refuses opposition calls to fire allies over investigative reporter's murder
Author

03 March, 2018

The murdered journalist had reported, in two unfinished texts published after his killing on Sunday, that the Italian organised crime group, the 'Ndrangheta, had embezzled European Union subsidies for Slovak farmers and for solar power plants and had personal links to senior figures in Fico's government.

Kuciak's Aktuality.sk website reported Wednesday that he had been investigating activities by the Italian mafia in Slovakia and possible links to people close to Fico.

The opposition has called for the resignation of national police force President Tibor Gaspar and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak.

Kuciak, 27, and Martina Kušnírová were found dead Monday with bullet wounds to the chest and head, respectively, according to the International Press Institute.

Experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Britain's Scotland Yard have now joined other foreign agencies - including the Czech and Italian police and Europol - who are helping Slovak authorities investigate the killings, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said.

Acting Reggio Calabria Chief Prosecutor Gaetano Paci told ANSA his office had also supplied information about the trio's alleged links to the Calabria-based crime organisation 'Ndrangheta.

Mr Gaspar said the murder was probably connected to Kuciak's investigative work, and the government offered a €1 million reward to help find his killer. Other anti-corruption protests are being planned across Slovakia and in Prague, London and the Hague on Friday.

Fico accused the opposition Wednesday of using the murder as a "political tool to get people out on the streets and gain power".

The ultranationalist Slovak National Party is the third member of the coalition.

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At least seven people were detained on Thursday, following raids on properties in the eastern part of Slovakia.

Troskova and the secretary of the country's Security Council, also mentioned in Kuciak's reports, resigned Wednesday pending results of the probe.

Maria Troskova, a close Fico aide, was forced out on Wednesday after Kuciak alleged she had ties to Vadala, purportedly involved with 'Ndrangheta.

Caruana Galizia had worked on stories about high-level corruption in the Maltese government and on Italian organised crime groups who smuggled Libyan oil via Malta.

The couple was found shot to death in Kuciak's apartment in western Slovakia earlier this week.

"This murder will change the atmosphere in Slovakia in a way that there will be much harder pressure on the investigation of serious crimes, on revealing corruption and clientelism, on revealing interconnection of politics and business".

They said that they were working with Europol, the EU's joint police agency in The Hague, with U.S. investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and with British, Czech, and Italian police to crack the case.

Fico is known for his numerous attacks on the media.


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