US imposed sanctions against businessman suspected in murder of Jan Kuciak
Based on Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken action among others against Slovak businessman Marian Kocner (Kocner) who is designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, as Ukriform reported.
Kocner threatened Jan Kuciak, a reporter who was investigating Kocner’s corrupt dealings. According to reporting, Kuciak’s investigative journalism focused on Kocner’s ability, through a complicated series of financial transactions, to earn millions of Euros through fraudulent tax returns from Slovakia. Kuciak was also responsible for several exposés on Kocner’s corrupt dealings, highlighting Kocner’s connections to the police and prosecutors. Kocner also hired former Slovak Intelligence Service members to surveil Kuciak ahead of his eventual murder. Slovak authorities charged Kocner with hiring a hitman who murdered Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, the U.S. Treasury Department informed.
“The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder, or brutality against innocent civilians,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “America is the world leader in combatting human rights abuse and we will hold perpetrators and enablers accountable wherever they operate.”
“Treasury’s action focuses on those who have killed, or ordered the killing of innocents who stood up for human rights including journalists, opposition members, and lawyers,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.
In addition to the designation of Kocner, OFAC is designating six entities registered in Slovakia that are owned or controlled by Kocner: Hotel Holding, S.R.O.; International Investment Development Holding A.S.; International Investment Hotels Holding A.S.; Sprava A Inkaso Pohladavok, S.R.O.; Sprava A Inkaso Zmeniek, S.R.O.; and Tranz-Tel, A.S.
Ukrinform, U.S. Treasury Office
Photo credit: access-info.org
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