PRAGUE – Police in Slovakia said on Thursday they had arrested an Italian businessman on suspicion of involvement in the murder of a young journalist who had named him in an investigation he was conducting into links between the mafia and Slovak authorities.
Antonino Vadala was apprehended in the eastern town of Trebisov after 27-year-old investigative journalist Jan Kuciak was found shot dead at home alongside his girlfriend on Sunday, police said.
Kuciak had claimed in his probe, a part of which was published posthumously on Wednesday, that Valada was connected to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia and was an associate of Maria Troskova, an aide to Prime Minister Robert Fico.
Troskova and a secretary to the state security council, Viliam Jasan, resigned Wednesday as police inquired into Kuciak’s death, though they denied any connection to the murder and claimed they were being used in a political fight against Fico.
Valada was arrested alongside two of his relatives, police said, and officers had carried out raids in three towns in Slovakia as they investigated the case’s links to Italian crime.
In his investigation, Kuciak had reported that the mafia’s main activities in the country were related to tax fraud and embezzling European Union funds, as well as carrying illegal weapons and threatening businessmen.
He had said that he was certain that up to 10 people could be arrested in relation to the mafia’s connection to people close to Fico.