The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - A former employee of notorious Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir says a police officer allowed Krejcir to threaten him with a firearm while in he was custody.
Brendan Harrison was applying for bail on Friday after he was arrested last month for allegedly conspiring to kill Krejcir – but the accused has told the Germiston Magistrate’s Court he was out of the country when the plan was put together.
This is the second alleged plot to murder Krejcir.
Last month a remote-controlled automatic gun, placed in a 007-style modified red Volkswagen Polo, was used to try to kill him outside his gold exchange shop, Moneypoint in Bedfordview. His car was hit several times but he was not in it at the time.
Harrison is being held under maximum security at Boksburg prison, allegedly because investigators believe his life may be in danger, it was reported in The Star earlier this week.
This was confirmed by the State in court on Friday.
Harrison was a manager at Moneypoint and, in his bail affidavit, said he had taken the job after he was approached by a former associate of Krejcir’s, Michael Arsiotis.
Arsiotis, a Cypriot, is understood also to be part of the alleged plot but The Saturday Star has learned he is no longer in South Africa.
The affidavit indicated that Harrison met Krejcir in 2009, while employed at the Harbour Fish Market restaurant at Bedford Centre.
Arsiotis approached Harrison in 2011 with an offer of the position of general manager at Moneypoint, which he accepted.
But in August, four men came into the shop, who he identified as a Jason Domingo, “Ronnie” and two Congolese, and began threatening Arsiotis.
Arsiotis told Harrison to report the threats to the police, and he did that.
But later Harrison received a phone call from another associate of Krejcir, Ivan Sanhof, who told him he had “picked the wrong side”.
Harrison’s affidavit said he had no more contact with Krejcir or any of his associates and later decided to move to Swaziland, where he started his own business.
On his return to South Africa on a business trip, he was stopped at the Oshoek border control post and placed under arrest for a conspiracy to kill Krejcir.
Harrison said the investigator, Warrant Officer David Mothibi, had collected him from the Hartenbeeshoek court to return to Gauteng, and allegedly threatened him, saying if Harrison didn’t co-operate, “he will make (his) life difficult” and also would oppose any future bail applications.
The accused was eventually brought to the Bedfordview police station and was set to be transferred to Germiston for his court case to be heard.
On the way from the station, Mothibi took a phone call, speaking in English and saying he would not be able to meet the person on the other side of the line at the Bedfordview police station – but on the way to Germiston.
Passing the street where Krejcir lives, Mothibi remarked: “There is your boss’s house.”
Harrison said the police vehicle came to a standstill near a Pick n Pay store en route to Germiston and Krejcir and “Ronnie” pulled up in their own car behind them.
Mothibi allegedly unlocked the door for Krejcir and Ronnie to enter the police car, where Harrison was handcuffed.
Krejcir allegedly pulled out a gun, and began questioning Harrison about missing gold and diamonds. He also wanted to know the whereabouts of Arsiotis.
He then asked why Harrison had wanted to kill him.
During the interrogation, Krejcir allegedly turned to Mothibi and said: “See, I did not hurt or bruise him, your job will not be in jeopardy.”
Eventually, Krejcir got out of the car, leaving Harrison unharmed.
Harrison’s lawyer, Jack Gerber called his client’s sister, Heather Rush, to the stand to show that should Harrison receive bail, he would be able to stay with her.
But during cross-examination State prosecutor Thabo Motlhamme told the court Harrison’s life was in danger and this threat could extend to his sister, were he to live with her.
“I’m prepared to die for him if I have to,” Rush told the court, “I will do anything within the law for my brother.”
Gerber also indicated to the court that his client was out of the country when the alleged plot was planned and charges were only filed five months later.
He also argued that Harrison, who had arrived in court with an eye patch, had a serious infection that could result in the loss of his eye if he did not receive treatment soon. He said Correctional Services did not have the facilities to save his client’s sight.
But Motlhamme insisted that because Harrison didn’t have a permanent residence in South Africa since his move to Swaziland last year, he was a serious flight risk.
He also said Harrison had failed to provide a correct place of domicile when he was arrested at the border.
Motlhamme said Harrison’s lack of a wife, children or local business meant he had few attachments in South Africa.
When Harrison was told his bail had been denied because of the probability he would flee the country, Rush clutched her face. Outside the court, she fought back tears.
While she did not wish to comment to The Saturday Star, it’s understood she will push for an appeal against the bail judgment.
Krejcir told The Saturday Star claims he had threatened Harrison were “total nonsense” but he chose not to comment on the case itself or the alleged plot against him.
The case is scheduled to return to the court at the end of next month.
The alleged plot
In a barely legible statement submitted by the State to the court, the details of the alleged plan to kill Krejcir were recorded by investigating officer, David Mothibi.
Harrison and Arsiotis had allegedly roped in a man named “Tony” to help them in their assassination plan. But Tony informed a Mr Ivan Sanhof about the plan. Sanhof was also apparently handed photos of Krejcir’s “movements”, which indicated Harrison and Arsiotis had been spying on the Czech businessman.
Krejcir was informed and met Tony, who told him he was hired by a Mr Tim Fuhrmann.
However, Fuhrmann allegedly told Krejcir Harrison and Arsiotis had threatened his family to ensure he went along with the plot.
This was reported to police. Gerber argued in court on Friday this evidence was “hearsay”.
Harbour Fish Market gained notoriety when George Luca, Lolly Jackson’s alleged killer, went there after murdering the strip-club boss on May 3, 2010, and waited for the police to come to pick him up. He changed his mind and fled. Luca has lost his bid to avoid extradition to South Africa but it’s unclear when he will return.
There are several links between Jackson and Krejcir. According to reports shortly before his death, Jackson was approached to give evidence against Krejcir as part of an investigation into a money- laundering scheme. Also Jackson’s lawyer, Ian Jordaan, sent a fax to Krejcir’s attorney rejecting a claim on Jackson’s estate hours before Jordaan was kidnapped and murdered, affidavits tabled in the South Gauteng High Court claim.
The documents show Jordaan faxed a letter to Krejcir’s company’s attorneys on September 20, 2011, rejecting claims of over R8 million.
The next day his charred corpse, teeth extracted, was found in Hekpoort