Bratislava, March 13 (CTK) – The Slovak police have arrested, based on an European arrest warrant, Italian businessman Antonino Vadala, whom the recently murdered Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak mentioned in his last article, the Slovak General Prosecutor’s Office announced.
The warrant for Vadala’s arrest was issued by a court in Venice, Italy.
“By an European arrest warrant, the Italian court has applied for the extradition of Antonino V. for criminal prosecution in Italy over a drug crime committed by an organised criminal gang that operates transnationally,” server novinky.sk wrote, quoting the General Prosecutor’s Office.
Vadala was detained within an international raid in which a total of 17 people were arrested.
The Aktuality.sk portal, for which Kuciak worked, has reported that the police detained Vadala in Michalovce, east Slovakia. He should be soon extradited to Italy to be tried on suspicion of smuggling cocaine to Europe. Kuciak also wrote about this case in relation to Vadala, Aktuality.sk noted.
Kuciak, together with his girlfriend, were shot dead by an unknown perpetrator in their house in late February. In his last, unfinished article, he wrote about the activities of Italian businessmen in east Slovakia, who seem to be linked to mafia, and on Vadala’s links to close aides of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-Social Democracy).
Two aides of Fico resigned from their posts earlier this month pending the investigation of the murder.
Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) resigned as interior minister on Monday amid continuing mass anti-government demonstrations in Slovakia and abroad.
Vadala, who have lived and run business in Slovakia for a long time, previously dismissed any links with mafia. He also called untrue the allegation that his political contacts in Slovakia had helped him gain a large sum within the EU subsidies going to Slovak agriculture.
The Slovak police detained Vadala and another six Italians within the investigation into Kuciak’s murder on March 1, but released all of them two days later.
According to the Czech register of companies, Vadala is also running business in the Czech Republic. Since last November, he has owned the Vadala Group CZ, previously called Redo Water, seated in the most expensive Prague street Na Prikope. The company is running business in real estate and has almost no property, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on February 28.