February 26, 2018 / 11:28 AM / in 8 months

Axel Springer says killing of Slovak journalist may be related to his job

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer SE said on Monday there was “justified suspicion” that the killing of a Slovak investigative journalist at news portal Aktuality.sk was connected with his research.

Jan Kuciak, 27, and his partner were shot dead at his family home at the weekend. He had been working for Aktuality.sk, a unit of Ringier Axel Springer, for three years. His last story, on Feb. 9, looked at suspected tax fraud connected to a luxury apartment complex in Bratislava.

“In case the crime was meant as an attempt to deter an independent publisher like Ringier Axel Springer Slovakia from uncovering any infringements, we will use this as an opportunity to be even more conscientious and consistent in fulfilling our journalistic mission,” Axel Springer said in a joint statement with Ringier AG, Ringier Axel Springer Slovakia and Ringier Axel Springer Media AG.

It said it would support the Slovak authorities in their efforts to identify the killers.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Gareth Jones

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