Shot journalist ‘was investigating Slovakian links to Italian mafia’ (The Guardian)

Photograph: Peter Tkac via Creative Commons

The Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak was investigating political corruption linked to an Italian mafia group at the time of his murder, according to a summary of his “last investigation” published on Wednesday. Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, were found shot dead in their home last weekend in a killing that police have said is likely to have been related to his investigative work.

The summary, published by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), focuses on the alleged activities in Slovakia of people associated with the Italian organised crime group ’Ndrangheta. Entitled The Model, the Mafia and the Murderers, it was jointly published with the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism (CCIJ), the Investigative Reporting Project Italy, and Aktuality.SK, a team of investigative reporters in Slovakia with whom Kuciak was working when he was killed.

The report describes how the project began with an investigation into why the Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico, hired Mária Trošková, a then 27-year-old former topless model and Miss Universe contestant, as one of his assistants despite what it described as her relative lack of political experience. 

The investigation took a dramatic turn after it emerged that Trošková had been a business partner of Antonino Vadala, 42, an Italian living in Slovakia with alleged close ties to the ’Ndrangheta.

My report for the Guardian can be found here.

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