Slovak prosecutors said Thursday they had charged entrepreneur Marian Kocner with ordering the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, whose killing during a corruption probe triggered mass protests and toppled the country's prime minister.
Kuciak had been investigating Kocner's business activities at the time of his death, one of several stories he had been working on when he was gunned down with his fiancee Martina Kusnirova at home in February 2018.
The the prosecutor said Kocner, who has a number of property development and investment businesses, was charged on March 8 with "ordering the murder".
Kuciak's last explosive report, published posthumously and unrelated to Kocner, alleged ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia.
The murders and the journalist's investigation plunged the EU member of 5.4 million people into crisis, raising concerns about media freedom and corruption.
The latest move in the case comes days before the eurozone member's presidential election.
Last year, prosecutors charged four suspects in connection with the murders, including a woman identified as Alena Zs.
Peter Bardy, Kuciak's editor-in-chief at the aktuality.sk news website, claimed in September 2017 that Kocner had called Kuciak to threaten him. Kocner had vowed to set up a website publishing information on reporters' private lives, according to the leading SME daily.
The 55-year-old multi-millionaire, who owns more than a dozen companies, was detained by police in June on suspicion of fraud. He is still in custody.
The prosecutor added that "we do not yet have the weapon but we have evidence as to what kind of weapon it was".
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