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Three Slovak Officials Resign Following Journalist’s Death

By Katarina Sabados

Three Slovak government officials have resigned following the death of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and the revelations in his last story published earlier today by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism (CCIJ), and the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI). A Slovak version of Kuciak’s last investigation was published by his outlet, Aktuality.sk.

Marek Madaric, the Minister of Culture has resigned as a result of the murder.

“I have been at the Ministry for 10 years, we’ve done a lot of things, but also made mistakes,” said Madaric. “I have made a very serious decision at this moment, and I do not want to look at other topics and colleagues at all.”

Maria Troskova, assistant to Prime Minister Fico, and the Secretary of the State Security Council, Viliam Jasan have also stepped down until an investigation into the allegations is complete.

The pair issued a joint statement of resignation stating that “combining our names with this nasty act (the murder of a journalist) by some politicians or the media is absolutely over the line.”

Following Kuciak’s death, journalists from across the OCCRP network made it a priority to publish the stories he had been working on. His research found a connection between Maria Troskova, the former Miss Universe contestant hired as an assistant to Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico and a man connected to the Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia - among the most feared worldwide.

Troskova’s previous business partner is Antonino Valdala, a businessman connected to organized crime in ‘Ndrangheta-controlled areas of Calabria, according to police wiretaps. Reporters were still investigating Troskova’s role as the possible connection between Valdala and Prime Minister Fico at the time of Kuciak’s death.

“Today it is just as important revealing the murderers of Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend, as is determining if there is a mafia operating there,” said Madaric.

“As Minister of Culture I cannot cope with it.”

occrp.org