The key cast of players in Krejcir's shady underworld

By Shanaaz Prince
23 February 2016

Strip clubs, bombings and ordered hits -- it's a brutal underworld war – and at its heart is shady Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir.

“Why my trial not live on the TV, like Oscar?” he asked journalists in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court during his murder and kidnapping trial last year.

But today, Radovan Krejcir wasn't smiling. He and his five co-accused have been sentenced to 35 years behind bars by the High Court in Johannesburg.

In August 2015, Krejcir was convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping and dealing in drugs.

Although the Czech fugitive's trial and sentencing didn’t have a dedicated TV channel like Oscar's, it had the hallmarks of great viewing. There’s intrigue, deceit, threats and a love triangle. We look at the cast of key players.

The criminal: Radovan Krejcir

PHOTO: Jenni Evans, News 24 PHOTO: Jenni Evans, News 24

Krejcir, originally from the Czech Republic, came to South Africa to avoid arrest in his home country. Czech authorities believed he was involved in illegal money transfers and in 2005 raided his luxury villa.

He and his family fled to the Seychelles and in 2007 he entered South Africa using the name Egbert Jules Davy. He was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg because he was on Interpol’s “red notice” list.

But Krejcir only really became a regular in headlines in 2010 – as a prime suspect in the murder of strip club owner Lolly Jackson.

Jackson was approached to give evidence against Krejcir’s involvement in a multimillion-rand money laundering scheme, City Press newspaper reported. Krejcir reportedly gave hitman George Louca a “loan” of R3,7 million but authorities believe it was payment to kill Jackson. Krejcir also featured in the murder investigation of crime boss Cyril Beeka, who was murdered in Cape Town in 2001. The Czech native was on the receiving end of an assassination attempt last year when his car was hit by a remote-control gun hidden behind a number plate on a VW Golf. “It was like something from a movie,” Krejcir said then. The wife: Katarina Krejcirova

Katarina has been attending court religiously with their son, 23-year-old Dennis Krejcir. She brings everything her spouse needs, from tic tacs to meals, when he’s in court. He looks for her if she hasn’t arrived by the time he’s in the dock, prompting one report to note he suffers “mild whiplash” from the number of times he turns around to see if she’s shown up.

Katarina had to deal with her own legal problems – she was arrested in February when she attended Krejcir’s bail application in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. Dennis was arrested shortly after.

It’s alleged the pair bought a Volkswagen Amarok using falsified documents but the case was later thrown out because there wasn’t enough information on the case docket.

The girlfriend: Marissa Christopher

Krejcir’s rumoured girlfriend lives in a home worth R15 million and drives a fleet of luxury cars despite having no discernible form of employment. The former Playboy model came to the attention of forensic investigator Paul O’ Sullivan because of her unexplained wealth. The estranged daughter of former Umkhonto weSizwe leader Russell Christopher denied being romantically involved with Krejcir even though several sources confirmed to City Press newspaper they’re together. Krejcir is believed to be the father of her baby boy. Christopher failed to respond to requests for comment. The forensic investigator: Paul O’Sullivan

He’s a man most criminals wouldn’t want to be in the crosshairs of and Krejcir is probably no different.

Krejcir tried to kill him five times but it won’t put him off, O’Sullivan says. “In my line of work there are people who want to remove us from the planet. I have not left him (Krejcir) alone, I have been like a terrier at his heels and have treated him exactly the same way I treated Jackie Selebi. I got my teeth stuck in and I wouldn’t let go.”

Krejcir denies the assassination claims but says O’Sullivan is a “vigilante” and “self-proclaimed white knight”.

The advocate: Annalene van den Heever

Her morning rituals of gulping down energy drinks and her penchant for rousing speeches turned Annalene van den Heever into courtroom royalty. Krejcir’s advocate is said to be rather feisty and has had her fair share of controversy during the trail.

On her birthday she brought a red velvet cake to court but came under fire from Judge Colin Lamont when a large knife was discovered in the cake box.

Van den Heever is a bit of a bulldog in court, those who know her say.

The prosecutor: Louis Mashiane

Mashiane has also received death threats. In a statement to the court, the prosecutor said he received a call from a private number while driving from Limpopo to Gauteng earlier this year. The caller apparently told him if he knew what was good for him he wouldn’t oppose bail for Krejcir. Krejcir and the five other accused – Desai Luphondo and Siboniso Miya and Hawks members Samuel Modise Maropeng, George Jeff Nthoroane and Ian Jan Mofokeng – applied for bail after facing charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder. All of the accused are out on bail except Krejcir and Miya. The judge: Colin Lamont

Judges are often in the firing line for their work – usually sharp public criticism. But in this case it could be literal for Judge Colin Lamont – he’s admitted to feeling unsafe.

Apart from the knife incident Lamont expressed concerns about an element from a kettle found in a parcel given to Krejcir in court. “There’s an additional matter which concerns my personal security, which is under investigation,” he said about the element.

On the cake knife he had this to say: “As a result of an incident which occurred, it either constituted a serious attack on me or it’s an accident but we don’t know which it is.”

The Star newspaper last week reported on an alleged plot by Krejcir to kill the high court judge.

The paper said Krejcir had apparently hired a European hitman who had allegedly tried to visit Krejcir in Kokstad C-Max in December to hatch a plan for the assassinations, but officials prevented this, News24 reports.

"A top cop had rushed to the Kokstad maximum security facility the following day and demanded all the video footage showing the faces of visitors, claiming he was going to investigate the matter," The Star reported.

On Thursday, Hawks national spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 the hawks were one step ahead of Krejcir.

"We are not aware of the alleged plot by Krejcir, but we do take these allegations seriously and we will be investigating. We have remained a step ahead in this investigation," he said responding to the report in The Star.

In short: legal woes

Krejcir’s trial started in May 2015 after he was arrested and charged with kidnapping and attempted murder. He, together with three Hawks officers and two others, allegedly poured boiling water on an East Rand businessman Bheki Lukhele. Lukhele’s brother, Doctor, allegedly stole drugs from Krejcir.

His South African legal rap sheet includes being suspected of insurance fraud. In 2011 court papers show Krejcir approached Slovakian doctor Marian Tupy to fake medical papers after he’d taken out life assurance.

Tupy used another patient’s samples to create the impression Krejcir had bladder cancer. Krejcir claimed more than R4,5 million from Liberty Life and Tupy admitted guilt.

The state provisionally withdrew the case against Krejcir and did the same later that year, citing other High Court cases that were underway at the same time. Krejcir along with Jason Domingues and Veselin Langanin were arrested for robbing an electronics shop.

Sources: news24.co.za; sabreakingnews.co.za, iol.co.za; ewn.co.za; Wikipedia.com; citizen.co.za; timeslive.co.za; enca.com; seychellesweekly.com, citypress.co.za

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