BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Organized crime may have been involved in the shooting death of an investigative journalist in Slovakia, a Canadian reporter said Tuesday as the country’s newspapers printed black-and-white front pages to honor the slain journalist.
The bodies of 27-year-old Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova were found Sunday evening in their house in the town of Velka Maca, east of the capital, Bratislava.
Kuciak is the first journalist to be killed in Slovakia. The government is offering 1 million euros ($1.23 million) to anyone who helps authorities find the people responsible
In an interview Tuesday with the Sme daily, Slovak-based Canadian journalist Tom Nicholson said Kuciak told him before his death that he was working on a story about possible Italian mafia involvement in fraud linked to EU subsidies in eastern Slovakia. Nicholson said he was ready to testify but has not been approached by police yet.
The country’s police said the slayings were likely linked to Kuciak’s reporting.
“I’m not sure what caused Jan’s death but I bet my life that this is so,” Nicholson said.
Making the story more explosive, Sme said two Italian businessmen operating in Slovakia did business with a senior adviser to Prime Minister Robert Fico.
The opposition called on national police force President Tibor Gaspar and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak to resign and was planning a protest rally in Bratislava for Wednesday.