The vice president of the Parliament of Slovakia, Martin Glvac, has resigned on Thursday over his contacts with a businessman accused of ordering the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak. Glvac is the highest-ranking politician to resign over his ties with businessman Marian Kocner, who was charged along with four others over the journalist’s death last month.
“I’ve never been overly attached to any post and this is my autonomous decision,” said Glvac, whilst calling on other lawmakers who have been in touch with Kocner to also resign from their positions. “If any chat conversation with Marian K poses a disqualification, then this principle must apply equally to everyone,” Glvac was reported as saying by Slovak media.
Other politicians named by Glvac who have had compromising contacts with Kocner include Parliamentary Vice-chair Bela Bugar, who reportedly met with the accused in the Maldives following the murders of the journalist and his fiancee. “I’m giving him room to step down out of his own volition and take action, otherwise in case a motion to oust him [Bugar] surfaces in Parliament, I can’t rule out that Smer-SD caucus might support it,” he claimed.
He also pointed the finger at Boris Kollar, head of the Sme Rodina party, whom he claims introduced him to Kocner in the first place and who he says met with the businessman at a luxury ski resort.
“They were going to balls and concerts together. Or are these contacts decent, in order, and [the opposition] don’t care? Personally, I don’t know any individual in politics with closer ties to Kocner than him [Kollar],” claimed Glvac.
Last month Slovak authorities charged four people in connection with the 2018 murder of Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova.
The suspects were named as Marian Kocner, Alena Zsuzsova, Tomas Szabo and Miroslav Marcek. A state prosecutors spokeswoman said in a statement that the six charges filed included pre-meditated murder, for which they could face between 25 years and life in prison if found guilty.
27-year-old Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were shot dead in their home in Velka Maca, 65 kilometres east of Bratislava on February 25, 2018. The reporter had researched links between the Italian mafia and Slovak politicians.
The journalist’s killing led to a political crisis in the country after it emerged that he was investigating connections between the ‘Ndrangheta mafia and two advisers to the then prime minister, Robert Fico.
The murders 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.
Voter indignation led to the victory of lawyer Zuzana Caputova, a political newcomer who campaigned on an anticorruption ticket, in Slovakia’s presidential elections in March.