Man charged with Slovak journalist's murder confesses to shooting him: TV

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - A man charged with the murder of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak has confessed to shooting him, Slovak independent public television RTVS said on Thursday, quoting police sources.

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators take part in a protest rally marking the first anniversary of the murder of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova in Bratislava, Slovakia, February 21, 2019. REUTERS/David W. Cerny/File Photo

The killing last year of Kuciak, who covered corruption, and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova sparked massive protests that led to the resignation of prime minister Robert Fico.

RTVS reported on its Facebook page that police sources said a former soldier identified only as Miroslav M. had confessed earlier that day during five hours of questioning by the police.

Daily Dennik N and website, where Kuciak had reported on fraud cases involving politically connected businessmen before he was found shot dead at home with his fiancée in February 2018, each quoted their own police source as saying the same thing.

Both news outlets identified the man as Miroslav Marcek.

The reported confession indicated that a second person among five people charged in the murder and who are in custody was cooperating with the police in the high profile case.

Slovakia’s special prosecutor’s office, which oversees the case, told RTVS that it would not comment on an active case.

Police arrested four people last September. Prosecutors said they believed Marcek to have acted as a driver for a shooter, his cousin and ex-policeman Tomas Szabo.

A woman identified by Slovak media as Alena Zsuzsova was charged with ordering Kuciak’s killing while Zoltan Andrusko was charged with facilitating it.

In March, Marian Kocner, a businessman and acquaintance of Zsuzsova, was also charged with ordering the murder. Kocner and Zsuzsova deny any wrongdoing.

A few months before he was killed, Kuciak told police that Kocner, a subject of his reportage, had threatened to start collecting information on him and his family. Police pressed no charges.

Public distrust in Slovak political leaders has kept attention fixed on any signs that Kuciak’s murder was linked to ruling circles.

Two deputy general prosecutors have been forced to resign under pressure since January over their contacts with Kocner.

The killing was also a big factor in a presidential election last month in which liberal political novice Zuzana Caputova defeated the ruling party’s candidate.

Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Mark Heinrich