Thursday, 11 July 2019

Murdered Slovak reporter Kuciak focused on Belgian drug gang

ČTK |
25 July 2018

Bratislava/Prague, July 24 (CTK) - Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, who was murdered in February, also focused on an international drug gang from Belgium with links to Italian mafia that laundered money in Slovakia, the Aktuality.sk and Investigace.sk websites have written.

According to the websites, the gang's head Silvio Aquino laundered money through a Slovak hotel in Stara Lesna in the Tatra Mountains from 2012. Aquino's Slovak wife worked in the hotel.

Aquino was shot dead in 2015. The members of his gang ended up in court in Belgium. The gang smuggled cocaine from Latin America to Europe through the Rotterdam and Antwerp ports.

The case is considered one of the biggest drug cases in Belgian history. During eight months when the police monitored the Aquino gang, it smuggled 2400 kg of high quality cocaine worth at least 20 million euros.

The Slovak police said they would not comment on this since a team investigating the murders of Kuciak and his fiancee deals with this case as well. The identity of the shooter remains unknown, according to available information.

The police previously said Kuciak seemed to be murdered because of his work of an investigative journalist.

The crime triggered a political crisis in Slovakia, toppling Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (both Smer-Social Democracy) amid mass demonstrations in March.

Kuciak wrote about the activities of Italian mafia in Slovakia and its links to entrepreneurs and politicians, including aides to Fico.

Following public pressure, a special police team started investigating Kuciak's murder.

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