Joint Slovak-Italian Team To Investigate Journalist Jan Kuciak’s MurderČTK
Bratislava, March 19 (CTK) – The Slovak General Prosecutor’s Office said today it has addressed Italian authorities to propose the establishment of a joint team to investigate the murder of Jan Kuciak, a journalist who wrote about suspicious activities of Italian entrepreneurs in Slovakia.
Before being shot dead, together with his girlfriend, in late February, Kuciak wrote about the businessmen’s links to mafia and about ties between one of them, Antonino Vadala, and close aides to Slovak PM Robert Fico (Smer-Social Democracy).
The tragedy triggered a political crisis in Slovakia, which culminated with Fico’s resignation last week. Smer-SD deputy head Peter Pellegrini is forming a new cabinet comprised of the three parties of Fico’s outgoing coalition. The opposition, however, demands an early general election, as do repeated demonstrations of the government’s critics across the country and abroad.
Last week, the Slovak police detained Vadala based on the European arrest warrant issued by an Italian court on suspicion of drug crime. He was one of the 17 persons arrested within an international raid. All the others were arrested in Italy.
“The General Prosecutor’s Office expects the establishment of a joint team of investigators to enable a quicker, thorough and more operational enquiry into the given criminal act,” the Slovak Prosecutor’s Office said.
If the Italian side gives consent to the plan, it will be necessary to agree on the joint team’s rights and duties and a possible involvement of international organisations such as Europol and Eurojust, the EU’s agency for judicial cooperation.
The establishment of an international team of investigators, a step that the families of Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, also demanded, usually takes several weeks or months, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
Kuciak and Kusnirova were killed by an unknown shooter in their house in west Slovakia, both aged 27. Shortly afterwards, the police said Kuciak’s work as an investigative journalist was the most probably motive of the double murder. In recent days, neither the police nor the Prosecutor’s Office have commented on the course of the investigation, however.