Four people charged with the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, will remain in pre-trial custody, the Supreme Court decided, turning down the appeals of three of them.
Based on the Information Law, the Specialised Criminal Court also published a document on October 9 that gives a detailed police account of how the murders of Kuciak and Kušnírová were perpetrated, including the preparations, dealings and form of payment.
The document is a recording from the special court session at the end of September when the judge Roman Púchovský first ordered the pre-trial custody of these people, the Sme daily wrote.
It was revealed that a sum of €70,000 was given for the murder and the perpetrators involved received the money in €500 banknotes packed in napkins. Hitman Tomáš Sz. had two individually adjusted submachine guns of 7.65 mms, as well as a silencer for firearms.
How was Kuciak killed?
The document also describes the way in which the murder was prepared and committed, the Aktuality.sk website wrote on October 9. During her first meeting with Zoltán A., the go-between, the woman who ordered the killing, Alena Zs., had a video documenting Kuciak’s whereabouts, his photos and address. Zoltán A., a businessman from Komárno, gave the information to the hitman and his driver, Miroslav M., through the mobile phone where everything was saved.
The two killers then visited Kuciak’s house in Veľká Mača at least seven times, starting on February 7 and ending two days before the murder, on February 19.
After the murder, the hitman left the house and passed several nearby houses towards the football pitch where the driver was meant to pick him up with a Citroen Berlingo. Afterwards, they drove together to Komárno to receive money from A., Aktuality reported. The men received the reward of €50,000 in 500 euro banknotes wrapped inside a handkerchief.
What happened later
After Alena Zs. found out the next day that an unrelated woman who happened to be in the house was also killed, she got angry, according to the police account.
As agreed earlier, she paid €50,000 to A. and forgave him the debt of €20,000.
Tomáš Sz. and Miroslav M. allegedly asked for more money after the case was highly publicised, and ultimately, they received it. However, the precise amount is not known, according to the website Kuciak was also writing his stories for.
Another person in the background?
According to the Specialised Criminal Court, Alena Zs. likely acted only as a mediator and was tasked with hiring the killers by some other individual who also gave her money to bankroll the crime. The identity of that person has not been unequivocally revealed and confirmed yet, the TASR newswire wrote.
The document established that Alena Zs. claims to be voluntarily unemployed and without any regular income. During the interrogation, she claimed that she is penniless. Despite this, €23,000 in cash was found during the police raid at her house.
Alena Zs. also stated that she was using a Mercedes-Benz CLA, registered in her mother’s name, and has also been driving a Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, which she allegedly burrowed from a third party. “It’s quite clear, therefore, that her current financial status is in unequivocal discrepancy with her legally declared income,” the court found.
The Specialised Criminal Court’s document mentions the alleged person who ordered the murder and someone who “is currently in custody for a different criminal case…”, citing the testimony of one of the defendants. However, it is not clear from the anonymised document whether the businessman who threatened Kuciak six months before his death and who is now prosecuted for allegedly forged promissory notes – Marian Kočner – is meant by this, Aktuality.sk concluded.
The document suggests, however, that reporter Kuciak had never met, or written about Alena Zs., so she had no motivation whatsoever to wish him dead. Thus, it seems probable that she served only as a go-between in ordering the murder, the ruling further concludes.
Murderers to remain behind bars
The ruling points out that the hitman and the driver face 25 years to life in prison; the former has also gone through paramilitary training and speaks foreign languages. Thus, it is quite probable that they both would avoid criminal prosecution and escape the sentence if released from custody.
Police admit in the official document, as quoted by Aktuality.sk, that they do not know the real ordering party, or several people for that matter, and are not able to convict them yet.
9. Oct 2018 at 22:16 | Compiled by Spectator staff