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Slovak businessman Marian Kocner put on U.S. blacklist

Bratislava, Slovakia – On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury included Marian Kocner, the notorious Slovak businessman accused of ordering the hit against investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, on its blacklist.

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“On International Human Rights Day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken action against 18 individuals […] for their role in serious human rights abuses”, it announced in a press release, building upon the famous Magnitsky Act, passed in 2012.

Apart from Marian Kocner, the other individuals and entities targeted by the U.S. Administration’s blacklist are located in Myanmar, Pakistan, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Citing Kocner’s threats against Kuciak and his alleged direct involvement in his and his fiancee’s murder last year, U.S. authorities have implemented sanctions against Kocner and six entities owned or controlled by the Slovak businessman.

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“The Treasury’s action focuses on those who have killed, or ordered the killing of innocents who stood up for human rights, including journalists, opposition members and lawyers”, commented deputy-Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.

According to Radio Slovakia, Marian Kocner is only the second EU citizen to be placed on the blacklist, which means that the companies targeted won’t be able to do business in the U.S. and his assets will be frozen.

Kocner and three other men were charged with the murder of Jan Kuciak in October, after a months-long investigation that revealed the businessman’s shady business dealings as well as his corrupt links with politicians at the highest level of government and led to a series of resignations from high officials, including a deputy-Justice Minister and the deputy-speaker of Parliament.

Kocner’s trial is scheduled to start on December 19 next week.

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