A former soldier has confessed to the murder of Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee last year, according to Slovakian media reports. The news site Aktuality.sk, for which Kuciak worked, reports that the man, named Miroslav Marcek, has confessed to the crime. Sources quoted by the local television network RTVS have confirmed the confession.
Kuciak and his partner, Martina Kusnirova, were shot dead at their home in February 2018 as the reporter was about to publish an article in which he revealed ties of people close to the Social Democratic government with the Calabrian mafia, as well as alleged frauds with funds from the European Union.
The Slovak businessman Marian Kocner, about whom Kuciak had also written, was accused last March of ordering the murder of the journalist. Ex-soldier Miroslav Marcek and three other suspects have been in pretrial detention since last October on charges of being the perpetrators.
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. According to Kuciak’s former editor, Peter Bardy, Marian Kocner had previously called the young journalist to threaten him.
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.
This climate of indignation led to the victory of lawyer Zuzana Caputova, a political newcomer who campaigned on an anticorruption ticket, in Slovakia’s presidential elections last month.