Krejcir: Arrest was revenge

2012-10-09 12:26
Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Pretoria - Former Czech national and businessman Radovan Krejcir said his arrest and subsequent trial was an act of retribution by South African authorities.

"I have always said it, this was all about revenge. How can people just turn up on a Saturday afternoon and arrest me for nothing?" he said outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday shortly after armed robbery charges against him and two co-accused were dropped.

"I am happy, very satisfied. I will be consulting my lawyers and we are going to decide what we are going to do next."

Earlier, in a very brief court appearance, a Pretoria magistrate told Krejcir, Jason Domingues and Veselin Langanin that the State had withdrawn all charges against them. The trio then walked out of the court with their lawyer.

The three were arrested in February and spent almost a week in custody for allegedly robbing an electronics shop owned by a Pakistani national in Pretoria West in October 2011.

‘Retribution for legal action’

During the bail application phase, Krejcir claimed his arrest was "retribution" for the legal action he had instituted against Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

"The arrest is retribution for causing discomfort [to] the police minister," his sworn statement read.

Police raided and searched Krejcir's Bedfordview, Johannesburg house in March 2011. He subsequently instituted legal action for trespassing.

At the time, his lawyer Mike Hellens questioned the police's conduct, who arrested the trio almost four months after the robbery was committed.

"Armed robbery is a very serious offence, always accompanied with immediate action from the police.

They only decided to arrest the three accused after the minister was served with summons," Hellens said.

On February 17 magistrate Adriaan Bekker released the trio on bail despite protests by the State. Krejcir's bail was set at R30 000 and that of Domingues and Langanin at R10 000 each.

Fraud charges withdrawn

Prosecutor Casper Kruger had presented arguments opposing the trio's release. He said the three, who had travelled to many countries before, "would use anything at their disposal to evade trial for the crime".

Kruger touched on Krejcir's turbulent past, including how he had landed in South Africa in 2007 with a fake passport from the Seychelles, and mentioned outstanding warrants of arrest against Krejcir in the Czech Republic.

Charges against Krejcir in another case, involving a R4.5m claim to an insurance company, had been provisionally withdrawn.

He was also embroiled in a legal battle to fend off attempts by the Czech government to extradite him, and had applied for refugee status in South Africa.

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