March 16 (UPI) -- Slovak Prime Minister Robert Rico resigned Thursday after widespread outrage in reaction to the murder of a journalist who reported on potential links between organized crime and government officials.
"Today I have offered my resignation to the president of the republic," Fico told reporters. "If the president accepts it, I am ready to resign tomorrow."
The journalist, 27-year-old Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were found shot to death in Kuciak's apartment on February 26.
Before his death, Kuciak reported on how the 'Ndrangheta, an Italian crime syndicate, may have bought farmland in Slovakia to collect European Union subsidies with the help of Slovakian officials.
Several Slovak politicians were named in the reporting. And one of the main subjects involved the relationship between Maria Troskova, a woman with previous business dealings with an Italian man suspected of having ties to the 'Ndrangheta, became a close aide to Viliam Jasan, a prominent member of the ruling party, and then to Fico, The New York Times reported.
Troskova and Jasan resigned and denied any involvement in illegal activity.
"Connecting our names to this atrocious act by some politicians or media is absolutely unacceptable," they said in a statement. "We categorically refuse any connection to this tragedy. But since our names are used in a political fight against the prime minister Robert Fico, we decided to leave our posts at the government office until the end of this investigation."
Members of the EU called for a full investigation into Kuciak's and Kušnírová's murders.