A 30-year-old Bulgarian broadcast journalist was raped and murdered Saturday in the city of Ruse, local media reported.
At the time of her murder, Victoria Marinova, a reporter and producer at broadcaster TVN, was reporting on an investigation into alleged corruption involving EU funds.
The victim was allegedly raped, beaten and then strangled. She was found by a passer-by on Saturday afternoon and her body was identified by her family that evening, the Bulgarian authorities reported.
It is unclear if the murder was related to Marinova’s professional work. The head of the Ruse prosecution office, Georgi Georgiev, and the vice-director of the local police, Ilian Enchev, told a press conference on Sunday that “all versions” about the murder were on the table.
Marinova’s final broadcast concerned an investigation by a group of Bulgarian journalists into companies involved in EU-funded infrastructure projects administered by local authorities. It alleged that 30-40 percent of funding received by a group of companies was lost to corruption and bribes.
In late September, Marinova interviewed two reporters working on the story, who had been detained by Bulgarian police, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. The two reporters had been investigating the destruction of documents that allegedly implicated consultancies linked to infrastructure company GP Group in manipulating EU tenders.
The murder was condemned by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, who called for a “full and thorough invetigation”.
Marinova is the third journalist killed in the EU in less than a year. Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak was shot dead in February 2018 in Slovakia, and prominent Maltese investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in October 2017 when the car that she was driving exploded near her house in northern Malta.
A vigil in Marinova’s honour will be organised in the capital, Sofia, on Monday evening.
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