Illustration by Lenka Matoušková

A sensational murder trial, a notorious oligarch and 57 terabytes of data. Those are the ingredients of this crime-thriller investigation into high-level corruption and financial crime in Slovakia.

Led by the Jan Kuciak Center for Investigative Journalism (ICJK) and the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism (, the project was established in the aftermath of the 2018 murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak.

It picks up on Kuciak’s work investigating Slovak businessman Marian Kočner, who has been convicted of financial crimes and stood accused of masterminding Kuciak’s killing. In a shock verdict in September 2020, Kočner was found not guilty of ordering the murder.

In partnership with six major Slovak and Czech media outlets, the team worked with a 57-terabyte dataset of police findings from the murder investigation. The result was 15 investigative stories that reached millions in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The project produced new findings detailing the extent of Kočner’s power and alleged criminal activities, helping to shape debate in a country still reeling from the trial.

A key character in the story is Slovak oligarch Norbert Bödör, who featured in the murder investigation. Bödör was later arrested for suspected money laundering and organised crime and is accused of managing a network of corrupt police officials in the highest echelons of Slovak law enforcement.

The story also involves the powerful Slovak-Czech investment group Penta Investments and entities registered in the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Liechtenstein and Panama.

Along with the ICJK and, the project was a collaboration of Slovak news outlets Aktuality, Sme, JOJ TV, Markíza TV, Týždeň, Nový Čas and the Stop Corruption Foundation, a Slovak non-profit.

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