Slovak police have named the man suspected of ordering the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée as businessman Marian Kochner. Until now, the Slovak prosecutor’s office referred to him only as Marian K.
27-year-old Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were shot dead in their home in Velka Maca, 65 kilometres east of Bratislava on February 25, 2018. The reporter had researched links between the Italian mafia and Slovak politicians. According to previous reports, Marian Kochner, who has been in prison for corruption since june last year, paid 70,000 euros to have Kuciak murdered.
The police said the charges against Kochner were based on “objective evidence” gathered in the course of the investigation.
“We have not found the murder weapon yet, but we have evidence of what kind of weapon it is,” said a special prosecutor.
In the months following the double murders Slovak police detained four other people suspected of being involved. Among the people arrested for questioning was Kocner’s interpreter. And daughter-in-law Alena Zsuzsova. At the time of Zsuzsova’s arrest, Slovak media reported that she had been charged with ordering Kuciak’s murder.
The journalist’s killing led to a political crisis in the country after it emerged that he was investigating a complex Slovak network of the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia, with links to two advisers to the then prime minister, Robert Fico.
The last article published by Jan Kuciak in February was about Kocner’s alleged involvement in a tax evasion scandal linked to a luxury apartment complex in Bratislava. Kocner was later found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to prison in June.
The murder of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova led to the dismissal of the head of the national police and the collapse of the government, with the former Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak both resigning amid popular anger of their handling of the case.