Bulgaria opens corruption probe after journalist Viktoria Marinova’s rape and murder

RUSE, Bulgaria — Bulgarian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the suspected misuse of European Union funds, following the brutal slaying of a television reporter who highlighted possible government corruption. The interior ministry announced the probe late Monday. Television reporter Viktoria Marinova, whose strangled body was found Saturday, hosted a show last month where the EU funds fraud was reported by the investigative online site Bivol.bg.

The ministry said prosecutors are examining the GP Group, the building company alleged to have misused the EU money, and have frozen 14 million euros ($16 million) of its assets.

Meanwhile, police are investigating the rape and slaying of Marinova, 30, whose body was dumped near the Danube River.

She was a director of TVN, a TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programs.

Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova is pictured in Ruse, Bulgaria, Oct. 7, 2018.

Ruse prosecutor Georgy Georgiev told the AFP news agency on Monday that Marinova’s death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation, and she was likely killed in broad daylight.

“Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing,” Georgiev told AFP. Interior Minister Mladen Marinov later confirmed that Marinova had also been raped.

Police sources told AFP on Monday, however, that there was no immediate indication that Marinova’s murder was linked to her work as a journalist.

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