Africa

Radovan Krejcir: South Africa charges Czech ‘mafia boss’

Radovan Krejcir (24 July 2013) Image copyright AP
Image caption Radovan Krejcir denies having links to the criminal underworld

A Czech businessman who has been linked to organised crime in South Africa has been charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and assault in a South Africa court.

Radovan Krejcir and his co-accused, two of whom are members of the elite police unit, the Hawks, have applied for bail.

All four men have denied the charges.

Last week, Krejcir, 45, said he had been assaulted by the police, winning a court order that he be transferred to hospital.

He is also wanted in the Czech Republic, where he was convicted in absentia last year on tax fraud charges.

He was arrested by South African police at his home in Johannesburg on 23 November on charges relating to events in June 2013.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Radovan Krejcir survived after his vehicle was shot at by remote-controlled guns

The details surrounding the arrest were revealed for the first time in the Palm Ridge Regional Court, east of Johannesburg.

The state says that the victim, a man whose brother was allegedly asked to smuggle drugs on their behalf, was kidnapped by Hawks members Samuel Modise Maropeng, 41, and George Jeff Nthoroane, 46.

Prosecutors says that 25kg of crystal meth did not arrive at its intended destination in Australia and the alleged dealer disappeared, so they went after his brother instead.

Associates killed

Krejcir moved to South Africa in 2007, where he is applying for asylum.

He says he will be killed if he is forced to return to the Czech Republic and has repeatedly denied having links to organised crime.

South African media has been closely following his brushes with the law over the years, reports the BBC's Pumza Fihlani from Johannesburg.

She says the police who have been accused of reacting slowly to reports of his alleged involvement in the killing of underworld bosses will be keen to have him prosecuted.

A number of his associates have been killed in separate incidents in recent months, local media report.

In July, Krejcir survived an attempt to kill him using guns hidden behind a car number plate operated by remote control.

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), said it had launched an investigation into his allegations of torture.

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