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Slovak court finds businessman innocent of murder of journalist Jan Kuciak

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A Slovak court ruled on Thursday that an influential businessman was not guilty in the case of the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak, the presiding judge said.

The court found one other defendant guilty of taking part in the murder, but did not find evidence the hit was ordered by businessman Marian Kocner.

Kocner and Alena Zsuzsova were acquitted of charges related to the murders of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirová.

The court said on September 3 that that the deed happened, but it has not been proven that they had committed the crime.

Tomas Szabo and Kocner have been found guilty of the unauthorised carrying of weapons. Kocner was given a financial sanction of €5,000 and an alternative punishment of five months in prison if he fails to pay the sum.

Szabo has been found guilty of murdering Kolarovo entrepreneur Peter Molnar, and of involvement in the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kusnírová. He was sentenced to 25 years in a maximum-security prison.

The parents of the murdered victims left the courtroom during the delivery of the verdict, when the senate said Kocner and Zsuzsova were not guilty.

epa08643139 Father of murdered Journalist Jan Kuciak Jozef (C) and his brother Jozef (R) arrive at the main trial with Slovak businessman Marian Kocner (not pictured) concerning the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova in the Judicial Academy building in Pezinok, Slovakia, 03 September 2020. EPA-/JAKUB GAVLAK

The killing of Jan Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova forced then prime minister and longtime leader Robert Fico to step down, and ushered in a new government in March this year whose main election promise was to clean up sleaze.

The couple were gunned down in their home outside Bratislava in February 2018, in a killing that mirrored the murder in Malta four months earlier of another journalist investigating corruption, Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Bringing Kuciak’s killers to justice has been a test of Slovakia’s judicial and political system, long seen as susceptible to corruption.

The actual killer admitted to the crime in January and was sentenced to 23 years in jail in April. Another man was sentenced to 15 year’s imprisonment last year for involvement in the murder.

Slovak businessman Marian Kocner (C) arrives at the main trial concerning the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova in the Judicial Academy building in Pezinok, Slovakia, 03 September 2020.. EPA-EFE/JAKUB GAVLAK

Via Reuters/dpa, AFP

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