Candle lit memorial for Jan Kuciak and fiance

Rome/Bratislava, March 2 (CTK) – The recent death of the young journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee forced Slovakia to become aware of the mafia operating in its territory, but Italian mafias have been investing and hiding in Slovakia for years, Italian author Roberto Saviano has written on Facebook.


Saviano mentions members of the Neapolitan Camorra criminal syndicate, the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta and the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. He writes that the Camorra killer Ugo De Lucia was arrested in the Slovak town of Poprad in 2005.


“Kuciak was killed because he was alone in investigating the role of the mafias in his country,” writes Saviano, who has been living under police protection since 2006 after his first book on the mafia practices was published.


The Slovak police investigation indicated that Kuciak was murdered last week because of his work that focused on relations between businesses, ‘Ndrangheta and politics.


Franco Roberti, Italian interior minister’s aide for organised crime, told the Euronews server today that ‘Ndrangheta has had a strong position in East European countries for 30 years, but the countries concerned underestimated the constant warnings from the Italian side.


Roberti said the prosecutors from the city of Reggio Calabria have been warning for a long time that a Calabrian clan was operating in Slovakia, but the Slovak state has not done anything.


He said Slovakia and other countries are not sensitive enough to the problem of Italian mafias and they therefore cannot effectively defend themselves.


Roberti told Euronews that Camorra entered the markets of the former Eastern Bloc immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall and is active especially in the Czech Republic and Poland.


In the Italian daily La Repubblica, Saviano writes today that mafia-like criminal groups can be considered the first Western business groups that maintained uninterrupted relations with the communist regimes and settled in East Europe in this way. In the communist era, the mafias could not buy property, but they gained control over illegal transport due to political corruption and they had a monopoly on Western products, which they smuggled to the Eastern markets.


Saviano writes that the mafia system is always the same: ‘Ndrangheta brings the capital, an entrepreneur invests it, a politician secures a smooth operation and all the parties involved gain high profits from it.


He said Kuciak’s murder is a precedent as ‘Ndrangheta has avoided attacks on journalists until now. The Italian mafias usually tried to threaten or discredit journalists, he added.


If ‘Ndrangheta was behind the murder of Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, it would mean that the mafia had a feeling that it must take immediate action to prevent the spreadig of information even though this will cause repression, media interest and threat to its business, Saviano writes.


It would mean that ‘Ndrangheta sacrificed a part of its business to cover some higher, broader interests, he writes.


Saviano says the first field in which Italian mafias tried to create a monopoly was arms trading. Thousands of vz.58 rifles in the ammunition stores of the Czechoslovak military enabled big business of Italian organised crime groups, he says.


Apart from arms, the mafias focus on drugs in East Europe. Slovakia was a transit county through which heroin was smuggled from Afghanistan to West Europe, Saviano writes.


He says Bratislava was not ready for a steep rise in tourism and mafias now control a large part of the business – from restaurants to hotels, from marijuana to cocaine, from prostitution to gambling.