Bratislava, Slovakia – The trial of the four people accused of the murder of Jan Kuciak will officially begin next month, Slovakia’s special criminal court announced on Wednesday.
The trial of notorious businessman Marian Kocner and three other men, accused of carrying out the hit against the young investigative reporter and his fiancee last year, will start on December 19.
Kocner was officially charged last month with ordering the hit against 27-year-old Jan Kuciak, whose investigative work targeted some of his business dealings and shady links with Slovak officials and politicians.
Private messages seized from Kocner’s phone, partially published in local media over the past few months, have revealed the extent of the businessman’s reach and influence at the highest level of government, and prompted a number of high-profile resignations, including a deputy Justice Minister’s, the deputy speaker of Parliament, along with some judges and prosecutors.
The high-stake Kuciak murder trial, which might lift the veil on further links between the businessman and Slovakia’s political elite, is bound to have a strong impact on the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 29 next year – almost exactly two years after Kuciak and his fiancee were shot dead at their home outside of Bratislava.
While one suspect has already confessed to the shooting, Marian Kocner and two alleged accomplices have pleaded not guilty to the charges.