This article was first published by the Sme daily on February 27.
Investigative reporter Ján Kuciak, murdered by unknown offenders together with his fiancée, worked on serious topics concerning VAT fraud.
He also dealt with the scandal surrounding the Five Star Residence apartment house, where the businessman accused of tax fraud, Ladislav Bašternák, owned some flats.
But in recent months, Kuciak had been dealing with the work of people close to the Italian mafia ´Ndrangheta in Slovakia and their past relations with the main state advisor of Prime Minister Robert Fico, Mária Trošková.
´Ndrangheta is the most powerful underground group in Italy. It has been known to do business with guns, falsify money and goods, engage in blackmail and usury.
European police office Europol sees the group as one of the richest and most powerful criminal organisations in the world.
Tens of companies
Mária Trošková briefly worked for Pavol Rusko in early 2011.
“But then she met a businessman of Italian origin who was involved among other things in photovoltaic power plants, and went to work with him,” Rusko told Plus 7 Dní weekly in 2016.
This description fits with the businessman of Italian origin, Antonino Vadala, who has activities in Slovakia. His name is listed with 32 companies in the business register, ten of them dealing with photovoltaic business. Today, his name appears in the business register linked to six companies.
A man with the same name and birth date also appears in the arrest warrant of the Italian police. In another case, based on the court order that the Sme daily has at its disposal, ´Ndrangheta used Vadala to help with the transport of goods.
The Italian police recorded a phone call between Vadala and Francesco Zindata, the regional boss of the group. Italian courts sent him to prison two years ago. The prosecution of Vadala has been halted due to lack of evidence.
Trošková and Vadala
Mária Trošková has been the partner and co-owner of the company GIA Management since August 2011 until June 2012. She co-founded the company with Vadala.
After Vadala left the company in 2015, Pietro Catroppa became its owner. Catroppa has also owned the Prodest company since 2016. This company had as a partner the former Smer MP, Viliam Jasaň, currently the head of crisis management and state security at the Government's Office.
Jasaň is also the secretary of the state security council that deals with secret information. The Slovak Information Service (SIS) monitored the Prodest company last year. The Sme daily has obtained the order of the Bratislava Regional Court to monitor the phone number of the Prodest company during six months of the previous year.
The court did not disclose the reason why SIS monitored Prodest, because it is listed as classified.
Close to the assistant, close to the PM
Trošková first appeared in the political environment in 2014 as the assistant of MP Viliam Jasaň of Smer. Jasaň refused to talk about how she joined his team when asked by the Nový Čas daily; he only said it was a coincidence.
“The assistant that I had left and a friend recommended this woman,” Jasaň said in March 2015, shortly after Trošková started at the prime minister's office. It is not clear who recommended Trošková to Jasaň.
In 2016, the Plus Jeden Deň daily wrote that Viliam Jasaň was close to Italian citizen Antonio Vadala. The Plus 7 Dní weekly wrote that Vadala introduced Trošková to Jasaň.
Currently, Mária Trošková is the main state advisor at the Government Office which is just a formal name of the position that she is paid for. The media have repeatedly asked about what she actually does, but have never got an answer.
PM Robert Fico has never explained what made him choose Trošková as his assistant.
Sme daily reporter testified about these links in connection with the investigation of the murder of Ján Kuciak. The police entered them in the records.