Slovak police raid houses owned by alleged Italian mafia

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Anti-mafia prosecutors in Reggio Calabria "officially brought to the attention of the global police organs and the Slovakian national police the need to monitor the activities of the group of Calabrians arrested because they are suspected of being involved in the murder of the young journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend", a statement said.

Slovakian media reported that one of the detained was Antonino Vadala, an Italian who did business with at least two officials close to the prime minister, Robert Fico. Only their first names were given.

Marek Madaric, a member of Prime Minister Robert Fico's leftist Smer-Social Democracy party, said it was his personal decision.

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Gaspar says the seven were detained as "suspects" with approval from the state prosecution.

Jasan and Troskova denied any links to the murder.

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Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova were found shot dead at his home on Sunday, raising concerns about media freedoms and corruption in Slovakia and sparking a wave of worldwide condemnation.

He did not give any names in the TV appearance but said the raids were connected with Italian businessmen with alleged Italian mafia links that Kuciak wrote about in his last, posthumously published article.

Opposition parties held a protest rally over Kuciak's killing in Bratislava on Wednesday afternoon and another protest is scheduled in several cities for Friday. Kuciak's Aktuality.sk website reported Wednesday that he had been investigating activities by the Italian mafia in Slovakia and possible links to people close to Fico. According to Slovak media, Vadala was among the three detained Thursday.

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