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"No apparent link" to slain journalist Viktoria Marinova's work, officials say

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

REUTERS

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- A suspect in the rape and killing of a Bulgarian television journalist whose work highlighted corruption in the East European country has been arrested in Germany, officials said Wednesday. Bulgaria's prosecutor general, Sotir Tsatsarov, confirmed the arrest of Severin Krasimirov, a 21-year-old Bulgarian citizen, but gave no further details. German authorities were not immediately available.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said investigators had found DNA evidence on the clothes and body of Viktoria Marinova, who was raped and strangled on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse.

"There is physical evidence to link to the murder," Marinov said Wednesday. He said Krasimirov, a resident of Ruse, had a criminal record for scrap metal theft.

The minister said investigators had spoken to Marinova's family and friends and "there is no apparent link to her work."

BULGARIA-CRIME-MEDIA

People take part in a vigil in memory of murdered Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova in Sofia, Oct. 8, 2018.

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Marinova hosted a show last month featuring two investigative journalists who were detained for their work on suspected fraud involving European Union funds.

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, which joined the EU in 2007, was ranked 71st on Transparency International's corruption list last year.

Joining the bloc opened an enormous spigot of possible new funding for Bulgarian infrastructure projects or other programs designed to bring the nation up to EU standards.