Slovak leader offers a $1.2 million reward for information in case of murdered journalist

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico is offering a reward of 1 million euros ($1.2 million US) for information about ...

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 12:50 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 12:50 PM

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico is offering a reward of 1 million euros ($1.2 million US) for information about the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak.

The 27-year-old reporter for the news website Aktuality.sk and his fianc-e Martina Ku-n-rov- were found dead Monday with bullet wounds to the chest and head respectively, according to the International Press Institute (IPI).

They were shot at Kuciak's apartment in Velka Maca in western Slovakia sometime between Thursday and Sunday, police said.

The government of Slovakia announced the reward Monday in a statement on its website, saying the money would go to anyone providing "relevant information leading to the capture, criminal charges and conviction of the perpetrators of the murder."

Kuciak reported on tax evasion and fraud among Slovak businesses, including people connected to the country's governing party, Smer.

On Wednesday, Aktuality.sk published the last unfinished report Kuciak was working on before he was murdered.

It identified people settled in Slovakia who allegedly have connections to the Italian organized-crime group the 'Ndrangheta. It also linked these people to high-profile Slovaks, including people connected to Smer.

Kuciak cooperated with the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism, the Investigative Project of Italy (IRPI) and Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) when writing the article, according to Aktuality.sk.

The head of the Slovak police, Tibor Gaspar, said it was likely Kuciak's murder was connected to his work.

According to local media, Kuciak received threats from Slovak businessmen about his investigations and reported these to police last year, the IPI said in a statement.

It's the first time a journalist has been murdered in the country, according to police.

Read more: Press freedom in Asia -- The strongmen following Trump's lead on 'fake news'

Ringier Axel Springer, the publishing company of Aktuality.sk, said in a statement that it would do "everything in our power to support (the) investigation and identification of the culprits."

"If this crime was an attempt to discourage an independent publisher such as Ringier Axel Springer not to pursue revelations about breaking the law, we will use this occasion for further strengthening of our journalistic responsibility," the publisher added.

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