The Latest: Police: Slovak reporter likely killed over work
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The Latest on the killing of a Slovak investigative journalist (all times local):
Slovakia’s police chief says police believe that an investigative reporter who was shot dead in Slovakia was likely killed because of his investigative work.
Police chief Tibor Gaspar says it is still “one of the most likely versions.”
Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova were found dead at their home in the town of Velka Maca on Sunday. 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 Prime Minister Robert Fico.
Giving few details, Gaspar said on Wednesday they both were killed with the same weapon which police still don’t have.
Two Slovak officials close to Prime Minister Robert Fico who were said to have ties with organized crime in a story by slain Slovak investigative journalist have resigned.
In a story published Wednesday on his Aktuality.sk news website, the late Jan Kuciak describes the activities of members of the Italian ’Ndrangheta criminal group in eastern Slovakia.
In it, Kuciak outlines the ties between the group and Maria Troskova, a former model who was chief state adviser at the government office, and Viliam Jasan, who served as the secretary of Slovakia’s security council.
In a joint statement, Troskova and Jasan said they were shocked by the slaying of Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova, who were found shot dead Sunday evening in their house in Velka Maca, east of the capital, Bratislava.
The two expressed their sympathies to the relatives and “categorically” rejected any links to the killings.
They resigned until the investigation into the shootings is completed.
Slovakia’s culture minister has announced his resignation following the slaying of an investigative journalist and his girlfriend.
Marek Madaric, a member of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s leftist Smer-Social Democracy party, said it was his personal decision.
“As the culture minister, I am not able to cope with the fact that a journalist was killed during my time in office,” he said Wednesday.
Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova were found dead at their home on Sunday. 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.
Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska, from a junior coalition partner, said Wednesday it was “absolutely unacceptable” that anyone with ties to organized crime would be working at the government office.
The opposition has called for the resignation of national police force President Tibor Gaspar and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak.
An investigative journalist shot dead in Slovakia last week was working on a story about the activities of Italian mafia in his country and their links to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.
Jan Kuciak’s Aktuality.sk news website published his last, unfinished story Wednesday. It describes the activities of members of the Italian ’Ndrangheta criminal group in eastern Slovakia, and business ties of one of them with a senior adviser to Fico and another official close to him.
The bodies of 27-year-old Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found Sunday evening in their house in Velka Maca, east of the capital, Bratislava.
Kuciak is the first journalist killed in Slovakia.
Aktuality.sk says Kuciak cooperated on the story with news organizations in the Czech Republic and Italy.