A Slovak investigative reporter and his girlfriend were shot dead in their home in an attack likely linked to his reporting on tax evasion, Slovakia's top police official said Monday. The bodies of 27-year-old Jan Kuciak and his partner were found on Sunday evening in their house in the town of Velka Maca, east of the capital, Bratislava, after police went to the house at the request of a worried family member. National police force president Tibor Gaspar said the slayings "likely have something to do with his investigative activities." He declined to elaborate. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said if that if that were the case, it would be "an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy in Slovakia" and announced his government was offering $1.23 million to anyone who helped the authorities find the people responsible, reports the AP.
Gaspar said the reporter was shot in the chest and his girlfriend was shot in the head sometime between Thursday and Sunday. Kuciak was working for Aktuality.sk news website. His latest story reported on a businessman suspected of selling flats in an apartment complex to his own companies. The reporter questioned the business reason for doing that, and speculated that it could be a method of avoiding taxes. Last year, Kuciak alleged that the businessman, Marian Kocner, threatened him following publication of a previous story. The reporter said he filed a complaint with police and alleged they failed to act. Reporters Without Borders, a watchdog group based in Paris, noted that Kuciak was the second journalist killed in the European Union in five months. Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in October by a bomb that destroyed her car.
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