Reporter killed while investigating ties between mafia, Slovakian PM’s office

A Slovakian journalist and his girlfriend were found dead Sunday mysteriously while he was working on a story about possible links between the Italian mafia and people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Jan Kuciak, 27 and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found dead in their home just east of the capital, Bratislava. Police say the two were killed with the same weapon, which has yet to be found, and most likely were killed between Thursday and Sunday.

Police have detained one suspect.

Kuciak’s unfished story, published Wednesday by news website, described the activities of members from the’ Ndrangheta criminal group in agriculture, real estate and other sectors in Slovakia in connection with a senior assistant to Fico and the other official close to him.

He also described one member’s business ties to Maria Troskova, a former model who is now the chief country 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.

Troskova and Jasan announced Wednesday the latter are stepping down until the investigation into the shootings was completed but they “categorically” denied any involvement.

Fico also dismissed the reports.

“You connect innocent people to a doubled assassination without any evidence, ” Fico said. “Don’t do it.”

Culture Minister Marek Madaric also announced his abdication on Wednesday.

“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. said Kuciak cooperated on the tale with the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Investigative Reporting Project Italy and the international Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

The Czech Centre said it had been working with Kuciak for more than 18 months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

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