Slovak investigative reporter, his girlfriend shot dead

Lester Mason
March 2, 2018

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico said if Kuciak's murder was tied to his work, the case would be "an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy in Slovakia".

The Slovak government offered €1 million for help in solving the murder case, which would be investigated by a special team of prosecutors, intelligence agents and members of Mr Kalinak's interior ministry staff, Mr Fico said.

"If the death of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak proves to be linked to his journalism, it would be an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy in Slovakia", Mr Fico said. Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a vehicle bomb attack last October.

Kuciak's German publisher, Ringier Axel Springer, condemned the "cruel assassination" of its journalist and Slovakia's leaders promised to bring those responsible for the killings to justice. Investigators think the men were working for someone, but no mastermind has been identified.

However the silence from Prague Castle spoke volumes and Adam Černy, chairman of the Czech Syndicate of Journalists, said clearly that the Czech head of state was damaging the position of journalists in the Czech Republic. They were estimated to have been killed between Thursday and Sunday.

Gaspar told local media that Slovakia had never before experienced such an attack on a journalist.

Richard Sulik, MEP and chairman of the main opposition SaS liberal party said: "We expect that the investigation of this murder will be carried out in quite a different speed than frauds of some obscure businessmen" - naming the entrepreneur Ladislav Basternak, who has been accused of tax fraud.

Kuciak reported on tax fraud connected to luxury real estate businesses, sometimes involving politicians from the ruling party.

Last year, Kuciak filed a complaint with police after threats from businessman Marian Kocner.

A group of Slovakian editors joined together to release a statement saying Kuciak's murder was a "serious sign that crime is turning against one of the most important pillars of freedom: freedom of speech and the right of citizens to control those in power and those who disrespect the law". Police President Tibor Gašpar has already issued a statement tying Kuciak's murder to his investigative work, the Spectator reported.

In an interview Tuesday with the Sme daily, Slovak-based Canadian journalist Tom Nicholson said Kuciak told him before his death that he was working on a story about possible Italian mafia involvement in fraud linked to European Union subsidies in eastern Slovakia.

"We have to find those who did it as soon as possible and ensure the safety of all journalists", Kiska said in a statement.

In a 2016 press conference, he described the reporters present as "dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes". "I call on the Slovak authorities to launch a thorough investigation with worldwide support if needed for Jan Kuciak", he wrote on Twitter.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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