Africa

Radovan Krejcir: South Africa convicts Czech ‘mafia boss’

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

A South African court has found Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir guilty of attempted murder and kidnapping.

Krejcir and his co-accused, two of whom are part of the Hawks elite police unit, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

This is the first conviction against Krejcir, 46, who faces four separate trials in South Africa.

Local media have described him as a "mafia boss" but he denies links to the criminal underworld.

Krejcir was accused of ordering the kidnap and torture of Bheki Lukhele, whose brother had allegedly disappeared with 25kg (55lbs) of drugs.

He was arrested by South African police at his home in Johannesburg in late 2013 over the incident.

In July 2013, he made local and international headlines when he survived an attempt to kill him using guns hidden behind a car number plate operated by remote control.

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

A number of his associates have been killed in separate incidents over the years but Krejcir has repeatedly denied any involvement with local organised crime syndicates whose operations are reported to also include drug dealing.

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

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.

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