The body of a Bulgarian journalist who reported on alleged corruption involving the local handling of EU funds was found in the city of Ruse Saturday.
Police said Viktoria Marinova had been raped and murdered.
A regional prosecutor said Marinova, 30, was killed by blows to the head and suffocation, and that her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothing were missing.
Marinova worked for a TV station based in Ruse, in northeast Bulgaria on the Danube River.
She hosted a popular program called “Detector.” The September 30 episode was about an investigation into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to Bulgarian businessmen and politicians.
Bulgaria’s interior minister Mladen Marinov said there was no evidence the murder was related to Marinova’s work. “It is about rape and murder,” he said.
Officials across Europe called for a swift investigation.
“Those responsible should be brought to justice immediately by the Bulgarian authorities,” the European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmerman tweeted.
EU Justice Minister Věra Jourová said other EU agencies could help in the investigation.
Shocked by the brutal murder of Victoria Marinova, a young Bulgarian journalist. I will follow closely the investigation and offer help by EU agencies, if needed. I expect urgent actions to bring those responsible to justice and to clarify if the attack was linked to her work.
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) October 7, 2018
In October last year, Malta’s leading anti-corruption reporter, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was killed by a car bomb.
And in February this year, Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée were murdered in their home in what looked like a professional hit.
On Sunday, Tom Gibson of the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Bulgarian authorities to “employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible.”
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.