March 01, 2018
A journalist's murder and Fico's administration
It is not every day that a eurozone prime minister displays a €1m pile of cash at a press conference, but this is what Robert Fico just did in connection with the murder of young investigative journalist Ján Kuciak. Kuciak was killed along with his fiancée at the week-end in what police describe as a professional hit. What makes his killing politically so sensitive, and of wider significance, is the publication of Kuciak's unfinished work, which revealed that one of Fico's aides had ties with a businessman linked to the Calabrian 'ndrangheta. Kuciak was known to be investigating the Panama papers, and tax evasion and organised crime generally, but the revelation of ties between Fico's government and organised crime - however tenuous - is the real shock. The revelations have led to the resignation of the aide, Maria Troskova, and of Viliam Jasan, who was secretary of the state security council. Jasan was the first to hire Troskova, who was later hired by Fico. In addition, culture minister Marek Mad'aric resigned saying that a journalist's murder should not have happened during his tenure. Fico reacted to the whole scandal by giving a press conference in which he displayed a stack of banknotes worth a million euros to announce a reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderers.
The situation is fertile ground for conspiracy theories. The latest is that a fire on Tuesday in the building of the financial administration in Kosice may have destroyed evidence of tax fraud related to Kuciak's investigations. The fire started on the roof of the building, while the offices are on the first and second floors and the archive in the basement. So, it is not known yet whether any documents were destroyed, writes the Slovak Spectator.