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Arrest foils Krejcir plot to flee SA

Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir (R) is arrested by police outside his house in Bedfordview on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir (R) is arrested by police outside his house in Bedfordview on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Published Nov 24, 2013

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Johannesburg - Crime intelligence officers upstaged their Hawks counterparts and arrested controversial Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir just hours ahead of them, stopping his planned fleeing from South Africa on Saturday.

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Police sources told The Sunday Independent that the Hawks had planned to bust Krejcir on charges of extortion and the “hijacking” last year of a company specialising in the minting of commemorative coins on the same evening.

The arrest is said to have deepened the rift between the two policing agencies.

Asked during a press conference which police agency arrested Krejcir, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega defensively said: “Police are police.”

She said officers from the tactical response team, the Hawks, detectives and crime intelligence were involved in the investigation that led to Krejcir’s arrest.

On Friday evening, Crime Intelligence officers pre-empted Krejcir’s escape from Lanseria Airport to Windhoek, Namibia. Krejcir was to fly from Windhoek to Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Saturday afternoon.

According to security consultant Paul O’Sullivan, Krejcir planned to join his family – his wife Katerina and two sons – who left South Africa for Argentina on Wednesday.

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“He had already paid for the whole journey, but he hasn’t made it, so he’s going to lose that money,” said O’Sullivan, who has been investigating Krejcir for several years.

Krejcir and an associate, who cannot be named until he appears in court tomorrow, will face charges of kidnapping and assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm in the Alberton Magistrate’s Court in connection with the crimes allegedly committed in June on Gauteng’s East Rand.

Phiyega only described the associate as a “South African male from the East Rand”.

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She said police would oppose bail, should Krejcir apply for it.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said given the severity of the assault, the charge would be amended to attempted murder.

Phiyega also revealed that police were investigating some of their own for possible involvement in Krejcir’s criminal cases.

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But although Phiyega gave the impression the police teams worked together, it is understood that Crime Intelligence acted on its own without informing the Hawks of the arrest.

The Sunday Independent has learnt that the Hawks were caught by surprise and had neither been informed of Crime Intelligence’s intentions nor brought into the crime intelligence officers’ confidence on the investigation.

According to an investigator close to the Hawks case, who cannot be named for fear of reprisal, the company hijacking charge was planned as the thin end of a wedge of charges to be laid against Krejcir.

But Krejcir’s arrest by Crime Intelligence, it is understood, is linked to reports in the Mail & Guardian this week that a senior member of SAPS Organised Crime division had accepted a R400 000 “loan” from an entity controlled by Krejcir as a start-up for a private security company.

The payment was facilitated by the late Cape underworld figure, Cyril Beeka, at the time serving as Krejcir’s head of security.

It was on the basis of charges laid by an unnamed victim, which was taken over by Crime Intelligence operatives that the arrest was effected – leaving the ongoing Hawks investigation out in the cold.

But after the Crime Intelligence arrest this week, the pending Hawks charges hang in limbo with the two SAPS agencies locked in a power struggle that could compromise the broader investigation into the East European alleged crime boss’ activities in South Africa since he made his home here on the basis of fraudulent immigration papers.

Krejcir faces multiple police investigations, including the recent bombing that killed his associates, Ronnie Bvuma and fellow Czech national Jan Charvat, at his Money Point premises in Bedfordview.

Earlier this month Krejcir was served with a preservation order and his assets placed under the control of an administrator as Sars moved in to claim a reported R59 million in unpaid taxes. – Additional reporting by Sapa

Sunday Independent

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