Published: Fri, March 02, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Slovak police raid houses owned by alleged Italian mafia

Slovak police raid houses owned by alleged Italian mafia

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

Slovak media said those arrested included Italian businessman Antonino Vadala, who is suspected of belonging to the 'Ndrangheta organized crime family while having ties to the Slovak government aides.

Mr Gaspar and interior minister Robert Kalinak, who is a close ally of prime minister Robert Fico, are under pressure to deliver swift results in the investigation or step down for their perceived failure to fight crime and corruption.

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In an interview Tuesday with the Sme daily, Slovak-based Canadian journalist Tom Nicholson said Kuciak told him before his death that he was working on a story about possible Italian mafia involvement in fraud linked to European Union subsidies in eastern Slovakia.

Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova were found shot dead at his home on Sunday, raising concerns about media freedoms and corruption in Slovakia and sparking a wave of worldwide condemnation.

Slovakia's top police officer says investigative reporter Jan Kuciak was shot dead in his home together with his girlfriend.

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Reuters was unable to locate Vadala or his legal representatives. In a statement, both denied any involvement in the journalist's killing.

The officials resigned from their posts in the government office on Wednesday.

The case has tapped into a wellspring of public anger over links between Slovak business and politics. A protest in Bratislava called by a conservative opposition party drew around 1,000 people on Wednesday night.

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Italian police alerted Slovak police and worldwide bodies "some time ago" on the the group of Calabrians arrested in the eastern European country on Thursday, judicial sources said on Thursday. They were shot at Kuciak's apartment in Velka Maca sometime between Thursday and Sunday, police said. Minister of Culture Marek Madaric, a member of Fico's SMER party, also resigned, saying it was his only choice in the wake of the murders.

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