Slovakia extradites mobster suspected in journalists murder

Slovakia has extradited Italian businessman Antonino Vadala, on whom the murdered Slovak reporter Jan Kuciak wrote, to Italy where he is suspected of drug-related crimes, and he flew from Vienna to Rome with a police escort, the Slovak police confirmed today.

The Slovak prosecutor’s office ordered Vadala’s extradition to Italy in early May. He agreed with it, which made the whole procedure easier.

Vadala, who has long been living in Slovakia, was arrested in March on the basis of a European arrest warrant issued in Venice. He was detained within an international raid, in which 17 people were arrested, all except for Vadala in Italy.

A Slovak court remanded Vadala in custody then.

In his unfinished article, Kuciak, who was shot dead with his fiancee in his home in west Slovakia in late February, wrote about the activities of Italian businesspeople in eastern Slovakia, who were linked to mafia, and about ties between Vadala and close aides to former PM Robert Fico (Smer-Social Democracy).

The Slovak police detained Vadala and another six Italians within the investigation into Kuciak’s murder at the beginning of March, but released all of them two days later. Vadala denied any connection between his business activities and Kuciak’s murder.

The double murder provoked mass anti-government demonstrations in Slovakia and a political crisis that resulted in Fico’s resignation and the formation of a new government. It is comprised of the previous three coalition parties, the Smer-SD, Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid, and most members of Fico’s cabinet stayed in it.

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