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Slain Journalist Was Investigating Mafia Ties to Government

Jan Kuciak was looking into alleged ties between mafia member and those close to Slovakia's PM
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2018 2:45 PM CST
Journo Killed in 'Unprecedented Attack' Was Investigating Mafia
Policemen guard the entrance to offices of news website Aktuality.sk, the employer of the murdered investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, in Bratislava, Slovakia, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Slovakia's top police officer Tibor Gaspar said the investigative reporter has been shot dead in his home in Velka...   (Michal Smrcok/News and Media Holding via AP)

(Newser) – 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, the AP reports. Jan Kuciak's Aktuality.sk news website published his last, unfinished story on Wednesday. It describes the activities of members of the Italian 'Ndrangheta criminal group in eastern Slovakia, and the business ties of one of them with a senior assistant 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. In his story he described, among other details, the activities in agriculture, real estate and other sectors of a Slovak-based Italian man believed to belong to the criminal group.

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He also detailed the man's business ties to Maria Troskova, a former model who is now the chief state adviser at the government office, and Viliam Jasan, who currently serves as the secretary of Slovakia's security council, a body that deals with key security issues. After the first details of the story appeared in Aktuality.sk and a newspaper, Sme, on Tuesday, Fico dismissed the reports. "You link innocent people to a double murder without any evidence," Fico said. "Don't do it." The opposition was not impressed and called on national police force President Tibor Gaspar and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak to resign. It was planning a protest rally in Bratislava for later Wednesday. The killings claimed their first political victim on Wednesday when Culture Minister Marek Madaric, a member of Fico's leftist Smer-Social Democracy party, announced he was resigning.

(Read more journalists killed stories.)

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