Murder Case That Toppled Slovak Prime Minister Yields Arrests

(Bloomberg) -- Slovak police arrested a group of people suspected of murdering a reporter who investigated organized crime links with top politicians and whose killing led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

The suspects were detained early Thursday, the lawyer for the family of the journalist, Jan Kuciak, told journalists, without revealing their number or identities. Earlier, police said they’d detained several people in relation to a violent crime, but declined to say whether it was the February execution-style double murder of Kuciak and his girlfriend at their home in western Slovakia.

The murder has deepened public distrust of state institutions and touched off political turbulence that resulted in the biggest street protests in the country of 5.4 million since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Under pressure from demonstrators who demanded early elections, Fico stepped down halfway into his third term to salvage his three-way ruling coalition.

Fico’s replacement, party vice-chairman Peter Pellegrini, said Thursday he was “delighted” to hear of the arrests. He added that the punishment of the perpetrators is one of the priorities of his cabinet. Interior Minister Denisa Sakova, while welcoming progress in the investigation, said “there’s still a long way to a court verdict.”

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