FILE- In this Friday, March 16, 2018 file photo candles are placed in memory of slain journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova during a rally in Bratislava, Slovakia. On Thursday, March 14, 2019, Slovakia's police said they have charged a suspect with ordering the slaying of an investigative reporter and his fiancee, a case that brought down the Slovak government. Police didn't immediately name the suspect. Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were shot dead in their home on Feb. 21 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

Suspect charged with ordering killing of Slovak reporter

March 14, 2019 - 7:42 am

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — A suspect has been charged in Slovakia with ordering the slaying last year of an investigative reporter and his fiancee, a case that brought down the Slovak government, police and prosecutors announced Thursday.

Two special prosecutors identified the suspect at a news conference as Marian K., omitting his full surname as is standard practice in Slovakia.

Slovakian media reported the suspect was Marian Kocner, a businessman long suspected of involvement in the crime.

Prosecutors, who deal with the most serious crimes, are never identified in Slovakia for their own protection.

Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were shot to death in their home on Feb. 21, 2018. Kuciak had filed a complaint with police in 2017 saying Kocner had threatened him.

Slovak authorities believe it was a contract killing linked to Kuciak's work. He was investigating possible government corruption and ties between politicians and Italian mobsters.

The prosecutors, who formed a common investigative team with officials from Italy, said no Italian national was involved in the slayings.

Four other suspects have been charged, including the person who allegedly financed the killing as well as the one whom prosecutors believed committed the crime.

Kocner is currently in detention in a separate case involving alleged forgery and securities crime.

The killings of Kuciak and Kusnirova triggered major street protests and a political crisis that led to the dismissal of the national police chief and the government's collapse.

The prosecutors previously said a total sum of 70,000 euros ($79,500) was paid for the alleged contract slayings.

AP Editorial Categories: