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Johannesburg - On Friday night, Bassam Issa’s Audi Q7 was spotted outside Money Point - the Bedfordview business premises of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir. Hours later, the Lebanese-born South African businessman was found dead behind the wheel at a traffic intersection in Bedfordview.
Thirty-three 5.56mm cartridges were found at the scene.
Early reports claimed a uniformed police officer in a marked vehicle had gunned him down using his R5 - which is chambered for 5.56mm rounds.
On Sunday, the Hawks, the police’s elite investigative unit, said they had investigated this allegation and ruled it out.
On Monday, the manhunt continues for the killer of the man known as Black Sam - a man who walked with a limp from an old gunfight injury, earning him the second nickname Cripple Sam. A Lebanese South African, he was frequently seen at Bedford Centre.
Issa is known to have had connections with Krejcir, a businessman with ties to the criminal underworld who has been linked to a spate of assassinations.
Police are now also investigating links between Krejcir and the Cape Town gang Sexy Boys.
Issa is alleged to have been a member of the gang and moved to Bedfordview recently.
The Sunday Independent reported that police had linked Issa to last week’s murder of Leon “Lyons” Davids, a member of the Sexy Boys, in Cape Town.
Davids was in a witness protection programme and assisting police with their investigations into the murder of bouncer boss Cyril Beeka, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2011. Davids had been named as the shooter.
Krejcir on Sunday denied any involvement in Saturday’s hit, saying: “I know him from Bedfordview. He was a very lonely person, very private. It’s always the same story with the media. But he is not an associate of mine.”
Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said the assassin had not been a policeman.
“We are 100 percent sure that no policeman was involved. We investigated the officer who was named and he has been cleared. Our manhunt for another suspect continues,” he said.
The Sunday Independent reported that a group of Cape Town detectives had been sent to Joburg on Friday to probe the Cape Town-Bedfordview links.
An attempt was made on Krejcir’s life in July when remote-controlled shotguns were mounted in a car parked outside his Money Point offices, but were set off too late.
The question is again being raised why Krejcir - who entered South Africa five years ago on a fake passport - has not been deported or arrested.
Private investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who has been investigating the underworld, said: “People are dying like flies around him. The man has been in South Africa for five years. He entered the country with a fake passport, has been involved with crime, yet the state appears to be paralysed.”
He added that he has been investigating Krejcir for many years - free of charge.
“I have handed over all my findings and evidence to the Hawks, who have not acted. How can it take five years to arrest him? How can he be allowed to continue operating?”
O’Sullivan added that Krejcir’s claim that he did not know Issa was “a blatant lie”.
“I know for a fact he was with Issa until the early hours of the morning. His car was parked in the Money Point premises on Friday night,” he said, referring to a stakeout he had conducted on Krejcir’s Bedfordview business premises.
O’Sullivan claimed Issa was a well-known drug dealer who supplied most of the clubs with cocaine.
When asked why Krejcir had not been arrested or deported, Ramaloko said Krejcir was arrested but
“witnesses change their mind and/or are intimidated”.
Bloody trail tied to Czech
The following killings have been linked to Radovan Krejcir, in which no arrests have been made:
* Yuri Ulianitski, a strip club owner, and his daughter were killed in Cape Town in 2007. He was out on R30 000 bail facing charges of kidnapping, illegal firearms and drugs.
* Kevin Trytsman, a private investigator who worked for Krejcir, was shot in December 2009 by George Michaelides, who claimed he shot him in self-defence. Charges were provisionally dropped, and Michaelides fled to Germany.
* Lolly Jackson, owner of Teazers, was murdered in May 2010 - allegedly by George Louca, who fled to Cyprus. Louca worked for Krejcir at Money Point. Krejcir was also involved in business deals with Jackson.
* Chris Kouremetis, a property developer, was killed in October 2010 in Krugersdorp, allegedly over a drug deal gone bad.
* Bouncer boss Cyril Beeka was killed in March 2011. He was about to turn State witness in Jackson’s murder case.
* Mark Andrews, one-time business partner of Jackson, was murdered in September 2011.
* Ian Jordaan, a lawyer working for Jackson, was kidnapped. His burnt remains were found near Krugersdorp in 2011.
Arrests and a conviction were made in this case:
* Supercar specialist Uwe Gemballa, linked to Jackson, was murdered on his arrival from Germany in February 2010. Gemballa was planning to set up a sports car franchise with funding from Jackson and Krejcir.
Thabiso Mpye was convicted after pleading guilty, but Beeka was expected to turn State witness in this case. The trial of Mpye’s three co-accused is set to proceed tomorrow.