The Latest: More calls for resignation of interior minister

March 1, 2018

A policeman walks outside of a house linked to an Italian businessman who did business with at least two officials close to Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, in Trebisov, Slovakia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Police are conducting raids in eastern Slovakia in houses linked to the members of Italian mafia in the country that an investigative journalist was writing about before he was shot dead last week. (Roman Hanc/TASR via AP)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The Latest on the killing of a Slovak investigative journalist (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

The chairman of a junior party in Slovakia’s coalition government led by Prime Minister Robert Fico has called for the resignation of the country’s interior minister after the murder of an investigative journalist and his partner.

Bela Bugar, from the Most-Hid party of mostly ethnic Hungarians, also said Thursday that foreign investigators should join the team probing the murder as both steps would increase public trust in the investigation.

The opposition has already demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak and police chief Tibor Gaspar. They are unpopular and thousands rallied last year in Bratislava and other cities to demand their resignation, with protesters alleging that they prevented the proper investigation of corruption scandals.

The requests for Kalinak to go will likely cause tensions in the coalition as he is a key ally of Fico in his leftist Smer-Social Democracy party.

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

The bodies of 27-year-old Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found Sunday evening in their house. They had been shot dead.

Kusnirova’s mother also wants an international team to investigate.


4:30 p.m.

Slovakia’s Interior Minister says the FBI and Britain’s Scotland Yard and other foreign agencies are helping Slovak authorities investigate the killing of an investigative journalist and his girlfriend.

In a message posted on Facebook, Robert Kalinak says he has been in touch with “the most important investigative agencies in the world,” having asked for help in the wake of the discovery of the bodies of Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova at their home on Sunday.

Kalinak previously said that Czech and Italian police forces as well Europol have been cooperating with their Slovak counterparts in the investigation.

In his last unfinished story, the 27-year-old Kuciak was writing about the activities of Italian mafia in his country and their ties to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.


4:20 p.m.

Slovakia’s national police chief Tibor Gaspar says seven people have been detained during raids conducted in eastern Slovakia in connection with the slaying of an investigative journalist.

Police conducted the raids in the towns of Michalovce and Trebisov in houses linked to suspected members of Italian mafia, about whom Jan Kuciak was writing before he was shot dead last week.

Talking to reporters in the eastern city of Kosice, Gaspar said those detained were male and aged between 26 and 62. Only their first names were given.

Gaspar says the seven were detained as “suspects” with approval from the state prosecution.

In his last unfinished story, Kuciak was writing about the activities of the Italian ’Ndrangheta syndicate in Slovakia and its connections with people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.


11:25 a.m.

Police conducted raids in eastern Slovakia on houses linked to alleged members of the Italian mafia, about whom an investigative journalist was writing before he was shot dead.

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

“Police are conducting raids in several places,” Gaspar said. “Yes, it has something to do with this case.”

Gaspar said police planned to release more details later in the day.

Update hourly