Slovak police on Thursday raided several houses belonging to suspected Italian Mafia members as part of their probe into the slaying of an investigative journalist.
As many as seven suspects were arrested. Police said those detained were named in Jan Kuciak's posthumously published report alleging Mafia ties to senior Slovak government officials.
Slovak media said those arrested included Italian businessman Antonino Vadala, who is suspected of belonging to the 'Ndrangheta organized crime family while having ties to the Slovak government aides.
No one has yet been charged with Kuciak's slaying. But an Italian prosecutor from the Calabia region, home base of 'Ndrangheta, said the Mafia family was most likely behind the killing.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has angrily denied any connection between his government and organized crime. He showed reporters $1.2 million in cash Thursday, calling it a reward for information leading to the killers.
Two bodies found
Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found slain Sunday in their home east of Bratislava. It was the first time a journalist had been killed in Slovakia apparently because of his work.
The two aides named in Kuciak's story — security council secretary Viliam Jasan and chief state adviser Maria Troskova — said they were shocked by the killings but denied any connection to them. They have stepped down from their jobs until the investigation is complete.
The shootings have outraged not only Slovaks but also free-speech and anti-corruption supporters across Europe. Marches are planned in Slovakia and several major European cities Friday, including London, Prague and The Hague.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. was "shocked and saddened" by the slayings and called for a "swift, determined investigation" to bring the killers to justice.