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article imageSuspect paid 70,000 euros for Slovak journalist murder: prosecutor

By AFP     Oct 1, 2018 in Crime

A female suspect paid tens of thousands of euros for the murder of a Slovak journalist whose death triggered mass protests and toppled a prime minister, a prosecutor said Monday.

Journalist Jan Kuciak, who had been probing ties between politicians and the Italian mafia, was found shot dead with his fiancee at the couple's home near Bratislava in February, plunging the country into crisis.

The woman, named as "Alena Zs., ordered the murder, Tomas Sz. was the one who shot them, Miroslav M. was a driver and Zoltan A. an intermediary," the unnamed prosecutor told reporters in Bratislava.

All four individuals have been detained and charged.

The prosecutor said that Alena Zs. had allegedly paid 50,000 euros ($58,100) and forgiven a 20,000-euro debt in exchange for the murder.

The killings of Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova triggered mass protests in Bratislav...
The killings of Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova triggered mass protests in Bratislava in March

"Only the murder of Jan Kuciak was ordered. His fiancee Martina Kusnirova was an innocent victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time," the prosecutor added.

Local media said Alena Zs. had worked as an interpreter for Slovak entrepreneur Marian Kocner, whose business activities were the subject of an investigation by Kuciak.

Local media added that Kocner is allegedly the godfather of the 44-year-old woman's daughter.

A 55-year-old multimillionaire who owns more than a dozen companies, Kocner has been in custody since June on suspicion of having forged promissory notes. He has not been charged.

Last year, the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) dropped an investigation into alleged tax fraud by Kocner.

Known for threatening journalists, Kocner vowed last year to set up a website publishing information on reporters' private lives, according to the leading SME daily.

Asked whether Kocner was suspected of involvement in Kuciak's murder, prosecutor general Jaromir Ciznar told reporters Monday: "I am not going to tell you this now."

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