Italian entrepreneur Antonino Vadalà, who is at the centre of an investigation into the murder of the Slovakian reporter Jan Kuciak, will be extradited to Italy in the coming days, according to Milan Filicko, the spokesman for the Kosice Prosecutor’s Office, who is handling the case.
The extradition was granted by the local authorities at the request of the Italian courts for crimes unrelated to Kuciak’s murder. According to the Czech media, he consented to being extradited without appeal.
Vadalà was arrested in Slovakia for the first time with other people in connection with the murder of Kuciak and his partner but released immediately afterwards. He was once again in custody in March following an international arrest warrant issued by the Venice court on charges of criminal association aimed at international drug trafficking and money laundering and has since been held in preventative custody in Slovakia.
According to the investigators, Vadalà was responsible for managing the overseas drug trade and organising the finances for an crime family based in Venice and linked to the ‘Ndrangheta.
Jan Kuciak was investigating alleged links between people close to the ‘Ndrangheta in Slovakia and local politicians when he was murdered in his home on February 25 with his girlfriend Martina. Seven men, including Antonino Vadalà were arrested by local police in connection with the double murder in March.
The political ramifications of Kuciak’s murder continue to be felt in Slovakia, where multiple protests against a perceived culture of corruption and impunity have drawn thousands of Slovaks onto the streets over the past several weeks.
It has also led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico and his cabinet, to be replaced by Peter Pellegrini as the head of a new government. Police Chief Tibor Gaspar, toward whom much of the public’s anger was directed, also stepped down in March.