Tags: EU | Slovakia | Journalist Killed | The Latest

The Latest: Italy: Slovakia Told about Syndicate's Expansion

The Latest: Italy: Slovakia Told about Syndicate's Expansion

Friday, 02 March 2018 09:37 AM

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

2:25 p.m.

Italy's former anti-Mafia prosecutor says Italian prosecutors warned Slovak authorities about "dangerous" infiltration by an immensely powerful Italian organized crime syndicate.

Franco Roberti said on Italian radio Friday: "We warned authorities in Bratislava, but unfortunately they didn't heed us" about the 'ndrangheta syndicate's expansion into Slovakia.

Roberti said the 'ndrangheta, based in southern Italy, might have killed investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his partner in Slovakia because "there was no other way to silence" him.

He said "corruption" of local officials plays a big role in the 'ndrangheta's activity abroad.

The recently retired Roberti called it "an old story" that the 'ndrangheta, based in southern Italy, operates in Eastern Europe, Canada and elsewhere.

Roberti said 80 percent of the billions of euros the syndicate makes trafficking cocaine is invested outside Italy for laundering and making profits.

1:30 p.m.

The secretary general of Reporters Without Borders has called on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico to apologize for insulting journalists.

During a meeting with Fico in Bratislava, Christophe Deloire deplored what he called the "appalling climate for journalists" created by government leaders in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Fico has been known for his numerous attacks on the media.

Deloire said he took note of the government efforts to investigate the killings of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner Martina Kusnirova who were shot dead in their house last week.

But Deloire added: "We nonetheless think you should express regret and apologize for having insulted journalists on several occasions."

In his last, unfinished piece, Kuciak was writing about the activities of Italian mafia in Slovakia and their ties to state officials close to Fico.

Deloire said it was Fico's duty "to ensure that the justice system is able to convict (Kuciak's) murderers, and a duty to protect journalists who investigate tax fraud and corruption."

12:45 p.m.

Slovaks are planning a national rally to honor an investigative journalist shot dead last week along with his partner.

The organizers said that 25 marches are planned Friday in Slovakia, including in the capital, Bratislava, at which President Andrej Kiska will attend.

Other commemorative gatherings are planned in two dozen cities abroad, including London, Paris and Brussels.

The bodies of 27-year-old Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found Sunday in their house.

Kuciak's last, unfinished story was about the activities of Italian mafia in eastern Slovakia and their ties to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico.

The rallies are taking place amid calls for international experts to join the investigation and for Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who was linked to corruption scandals in the past, to resign.

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The Latest on the killing of a Slovak investigative journalist (all times local):2:25 p.m.Italy's former anti-Mafia prosecutor says Italian prosecutors warned Slovak authorities about "dangerous" infiltration by an immensely powerful Italian organized crime syndicate.Franco...
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Friday, 02 March 2018 09:37 AM
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