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Slovak investigative journalist killed at home: report

PRAGUE (Reuters) – A Slovak investigative journalist reporting on tax fraud among businessmen connected to the country’s ruling party was shot dead at his family home over the weekend, news website Dennik N reported on Monday, citing the Interior Ministry.

Dennik N reported that 27-year-old Jan Kuciak, a journalist for news server Aktuality.sk, was killed along with his partner in the town of Velka Maca, 65 km (40 miles) east of the capital Bratislava.

The Interior Ministry and the police were not immediately available for comment. Police were due to hold a news conference later on Monday.

Kuciak’s last story for Aktuality, on Feb. 9, looked at suspected tax fraud connected to a luxury apartment complex in Bratislava.

The case around the apartment complex prompted protests last year to demand the resignation of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak over his business dealings with property developer Ladislav Basternak, who has been investigated over possible tax fraud. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Slovakia’s economy has boomed and living standards have risen sharply since it joined the European Union in 2004, but many Slovaks say their country still fails to defend the rule of law, especially in punishing graft.

(Reporting by Robert Muller and Jason Hovet, Editing by Michael Kahn and Gareth Jones)

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