RUSE, BULGARIA—Bulgarian authorities on Tuesday will release and won’t charge a man arrested in connection with the slaying of Bulgarian television reporter Viktoria Marinova, whose body was found after she highlighted possible government corruption.
The man, who wasn’t identified, would be freed “very shortly,” said Teodor Atanassov, chief police officer of the northern town of Ruse. He declined to provide further details on the ongoing investigation.
Police are investigating the rape and slaying of Marinova, 30, who was strangled. Her body was found Saturday near the Danube River. Marinova hosted a show last month featuring two investigative journalists who were detained for their work on suspected fraud involving European Union funds.
The Interior Ministry said late Monday that prosecutors had opened an investigation into GP Group, a large private Bulgarian building company alleged to have misused the EU money, and froze 14 million euros ($16 million) of its assets.
Interior Minister Mladen Marinov and Bulgaria’s leading organized crime investigator, Ivaylo Spiridonov, are part of the investigating team.
While Marinova didn’t appear to have been closely involved in the fraud investigation, her show touched on a sensitive subject in Bulgaria, where corruption is endemic. The Balkan nation joined the EU in 2007 and was ranked 71st on Transparency International’s corruption list last year. Joining the bloc opened an enormous spigot of possible new EU funding for Bulgarian infrastructure projects or other programs designed to bring the nation up to EU standards.
Journalists’ groups and European leaders expressed shock at Marinova’s murder. Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said Monday that the commission expected “a swift and thorough investigation .... that will bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was linked to her work.”