BFF-57 Suspect paid 70,000 euros for Slovak journalist murder: prosecutor

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SLOVAKIA-JUSTICE-POLITICS-CRIME-MEDIA

Suspect paid 70,000 euros for Slovak journalist murder: prosecutor

BRATISLAVA, Oct 1, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A female suspect paid tens of
thousands of euros for the murder of a Slovak journalist whose death
triggered mass protests and toppled a prime minister, a prosecutor said
Monday.

Journalist Jan Kuciak, who had been probing ties between politicians and
the Italian mafia, was found shot dead with his fiancee at the couple’s home
near Bratislava in February, plunging the country into crisis.

The woman, named as “Alena Zs., ordered the murder, Tomas Sz. was the one
who shot them, Miroslav M. was a driver and Zoltan A. an intermediary,” the
unnamed prosecutor told reporters in Bratislava.

All four individuals have been detained and charged.

The prosecutor said that Alena Zs. had allegedly paid 50,000 euros
($58,100) and forgiven a 20,000-euro debt in exchange for the murder.

“Only the murder of Jan Kuciak was ordered. His fiancee Martina Kusnirova
was an innocent victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the
prosecutor added.

Local media said Alena Zs. had worked as an interpreter for Slovak
entrepreneur Marian Kocner, whose business activities were the subject of an
investigation by Kuciak.

Local media added that Kocner is allegedly the godfather of the 44-year-old
woman’s daughter.

A 55-year-old multimillionaire who owns more than a dozen companies, Kocner
has been in custody since June on suspicion of having forged promissory
notes. He has not been charged.

Last year, the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) dropped an investigation
into alleged tax fraud by Kocner.

Known for threatening journalists, Kocner vowed last year to set up a
website publishing information on reporters’ private lives, according to the
leading SME daily.

Asked whether Kocner was suspected of involvement in Kuciak’s murder,
prosecutor general Jaromir Ciznar told reporters Monday: “I am not going to
tell you this now.”

BSS/AFP/MRI/2240 HRS