Three Italians named in dead journalist's last story. Now they've been detained

Prosecutors in Italy suggested that the notorious Calabrian crime syndicate the 'Ndrangheta may have been behind the killing of Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, who were found shot dead at their home near Bratislava on Sunday.

Slovakian media reported that one of the detained was Antonino Vadala, an Italian who did business with at least two officials close to the prime minister, Robert Fico.

Slovakia's leaders promised to bring the perpetrators to justice, with the government offering a 1 million euro reward for information leading to an arrest.

Slovak police on Thursday raided houses linked to alleged members of the Italian mafia in connection with the slaying of an investigative journalist and his girlfriend.

The country's police chief, Tibor Gaspar, told reporters in the eastern town of Michalovce on Thursday that about 10 people would be detained.

The murdered journalist had reported, in two unfinished texts published after his killing on Sunday, that the Italian organised crime group, the 'Ndrangheta, had embezzled European Union subsidies for Slovak farmers and for solar power plants and had personal links to senior figures in Fico's government.

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"We are shocked and stunned about the news that Jan Kuciak and his companion obviously have been the victims of a cruel assassination", publisher Ringier Axel Springer Slovakia said in a statement. Other anti-corruption protests and memorials are planned for Friday across Slovakia and in Prague, London and The Hague.

Fico fought back, accusing his opponents of using the deaths of two young people as "a simple political tool for the opposition, with which it wants to push people into the streets and gain power".

The ultranationalist Slovak National Party is the third member of the coalition.

Police raided seven locations in eastern Slovakia, Gaspar said on TA3 television.

The case has tapped into a wellspring of public anger over links between Slovak business and politics.

They said that they were working with Europol, the EU's joint police agency in The Hague, with USA investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and with British, Czech, and Italian police to crack the case.

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Troskova and the secretary of the country's Security Council, also mentioned in Kuciak's reports, resigned Wednesday pending results of the probe.

According to earlier media reports, Maria Toroskova, a senior advisor to PM Fico, was among those being probed.

The chief has said the motive was "most likely" related to Kuciak's investigative journalism, and has warned reporters about publishing details of the case.

Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said on Facebook on Thursday that Italian police, Europol, the FBI and Scotland Yard had pledged to help with the investigation.

He, like fellow murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, worked on the Panama Papers scandal.

Rain on Sunday, milder through week
This afternoon, there may be an isolated storm or two, but best chances for thunderstorm activity is tonight . Thunderstorms are also possible going into the week with potential strong storms on Wednesday (Feb. 28).

  • Theresa Obrien