Murky Businessman Charged for Journalist Jan Kuciak’s Assassination in Slovakia
The charged businessman is known to have threatened the journalist a number of times.
Slovakia’s law enforcement authorities have charged Marian Kocner, a murky businessman with alleged political connections, for ordering the assassination of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak.
27-year-old Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were killed on February 21, 2018, in their home in Slovakia’s Veľká Mača, Trnava Region.
Kuciak was an investigative journalist for the Aktuality.sk website, dealing mostly with stories concerning tax fraud, government corruption, and ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia.
The brutal murder of the journalist made global headlines, and rattled Slovakia’s political landscape.
It led to the largest street protests in Slovakia since the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia at the end of 1989, and to the resignations of then Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak.
The Slovak police believe Kuciak’s murder was connected with his work as an investigative journalist.
Controversial businessman Marian Kocner, whose name has appeared on the so-called “mafia lists” has been charged with ordering the assassination, The Slovak Spectator reports.
Kocner has been held in police custody in Leopoldov, after he had arrested for an economic crime.
“The motive for the murder was Kuciak’s work as a journalist. The investigator (has based the charge) on objective evidence that can’t be specified at the moment,” one of the involved Slovak prosecutors said.
Slovak media report that the murky politically connected businessman had long been suspected of having participated in Kuciak’s assassination.
At the time he was killed, the young journalist was investigating Kocner’s business activities.
Kocner is known to have threatened Kuciak in the past. The journalist had alerted the police about the businessman’s threats several times but they did not press charges.
Out of the total of eight people arrested in September 2018, four other persons have also been charged over Kuciak’s assassination.
These include a woman who has also been charged as an organized alongside Kocner. According to the Slovak prosecutors, no Italian nationals were involved in the contract killing.
The other defendants are the person who is believed to have perpetrated the crime, and a person who funded it by paying the hired killer a total of EUR 70,000 (nearly USD 80,000).
(Banner image: Investigace.cz)