A MAN has been arrested in Germany over the rape and killing of a Bulgarian journalist whose work highlighted corruption in the East European country.

Bulgaria’s prosecutor general Sotir Tsatsarov confirmed the arrest of Severin Krassimirov, a 21-year-old Bulgarian citizen.

Prosecutors in the state of Lower Saxony said the suspect was arrested on Tuesday evening outside the city of Hamburg on a European arrest warrant. Prosecutors will examine whether he can be extradited and apply to have him put in formal custody.

Bulgarian 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.

Bulgarian media reported that Krassimirov’s mother lives in Germany. The interior ministry said he left Bulgaria early on Saturday afternoon, crossing the bridge at Ruse over the Danube into Romania.

“There is physical evidence to link to the murder,” said. Krassimirov, 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”. Mr Tsatsarov said the evidence suggested it was “a spontaneous attack, not premeditated”.

However, he added that investigators were examining “all possible lines of investigation.”

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov offered condolences to her family and thanked investigators for their work.

However, he said he would withdraw his support for German MEP Manfred Weber, a leading candidate for the next head of the European Commission, because of tweets he made associating the death of Marinova with those of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak. Both were killed due to their probes into corrupt officials.

On Wednesday, Weber tweeted: “Bulgarian authorities have acted swiftly and effectively. We have full confidence in the Bulgarian authorities to find justice for the family and loved ones.”