The murder of Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova on February 25, which sparked mass anti-corruption protests and forced the country’s prime minister, Robert Fico, to resign, is likely to have been a contract killing, a prosecutor has said.
Mr Kuciak was shot twice in his chest, and Ms Kusnirova once in the head at their home outside Bratislava, said the prosecutor, who – quoted by Reuters in Bratislava – asked not to be identified.
No one has been charged with the murder and police and prosecutors have kept quiet on the investigation. A number of Italians with alleged mafia links were arrested in the days following the murder, but were quickly released. No further arrests have since been made.
“There were no signs of struggle and most likely nothing had been stolen, which suggests it was a contract killing,” the prosecutor said. “Kuciak worked on a number of stories. The police are pursuing several lines of investigation with equal attention.”
The killings led to the biggest protests Slovakia has seen since the end of communism in 1989, as tens of thousands of people demanded new elections.
Mr Fico – who had led Slovakia for 10 of the past 12 years – resigned on March 15, leaving his his deputy Peter Pellegrini to form a new government. His three-party coalition has so far held together, winning a confidence vote in parliament on March 25. In the vote, 81 MPs in the 150-seat legislature voted in favour of the new government.