Bratislava, October 1 (TASR) – The order for the murders of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova cost €50,000 euros in cash plus another €20,000 in the form of forgiven debt, meaning that the hiring party paid at least €70,000 for the murders, said representatives of the prosecutor’s office and the police at a press conference on Monday.
The murders were allegedly paid for by a woman identified for legal reasons only as Alena Zs., with the police still investigating where she obtained the money from. The hiring party ordered only Kuciak’s murder, with his fiancée caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“[A sum of] €50,000 in cash was paid out, plus €20,000 in forgiven debt,” said the supervising prosecutor. “The murder was ordered for the specific person of journalist Jan Kuciak, while Martina Kusnirova was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. The supervising prosecutor added that the amount of €20,000 was not related to Kusnirova but was an older debt. “The mediator owed €20,000 to the ordering party,” stated the supervising prosecutor.
Four people have been charged with the double murder. They’ve been identified for legal reasons only as Alena Zs., Tomas Sz., Miroslav M. and Zoltan A. The ordering party has the initials A. Zs., the hitman T. Sz., the driver or helper M. M. and the mediator Z. A., stated the prosecutor.
The police still don’t know who prompted Alena Zs. to order the contract. “We’re trying to figure out where the order came from, it won’t be from this country. It’s too early to say where this will lead, what the result will be. It’s very likely that she paid the money, but the question is where she got it from,” said the prosecutor.
According to him, one of the people charged, Zoltan A., is cooperating with the police. “The accused has evaluated the extent of the case against him and decided to accept the situation in which he’s found himself. He’s been more responsive to the law enforcement bodies, therefore,” stated the supervising prosecutor.
National Criminal Agency National Anti-crime Unit director Branislav Zurian confirmed that the weapons, cars and mobile phone used by the perpetrators have been seized, as have a cartridge that matches the one used in the murder, but the police don’t have the murder weapon.
Ciznar expects that the case will be concluded successfully. “The evidence we have is, in my opinion, very, very strong. I think that there is a great assumption that the case will be concluded successfully. You’ll be informed constantly to an extent that won’t put the investigation at risk,” stated Ciznar, adding that he won’t provide any more details.
The four people charged have been remanded in custody based on a decision of the judge presiding over preliminary proceedings at the Specialised Criminal Court (STS) in Banska Bystrica on Sunday.
Jan Kuciak was an investigative journalist working for news website Aktuality.sk. He and his fiancée were murdered in their house in Velka Maca (Trnava region) on February 21, 2018 with gunshots from a 9 mm pistol.