Police ‘paid by Czech’

2011-03-19 17:32

Fugitive Czech millionaire ­Radovan Krejcir allegedly “bought” influence and protection from police, and top cops are now spying on each other amid an investigation to identify the allegedly corrupt ­officials.

The alleged “mob boss” is ­currently the subject of a wide­ranging probe by the Hawks into a number of corruption cases ­involving senior police crime ­intelligence officers in ­Gauteng.

Krejcir is alleged to have paid top cops to make criminal cases “go away” and to intimidate ­members of the Johannesburg ­underworld.

Krejcir’s attorney, Piet du ­Plessis, on Friday dismissed the allegations as “gossip”.

It has emerged that Hawks ­investigators have evidence that their phones are being tapped by police crime intelligence operatives, and that information about their investigation into Krejcir is being leaked.

Asked about the phone-tapping, a senior police official said: “It is happening.

They (certain crime intelligence officers) are trying to make sure they can listen to ­anyone involved in the case.

This is a clear example of abuse of ­power – when someone uses state resources to listen to fellow police officers.”

Another senior police officer said he was “absolutely shocked”.

“These are our own people ­tapping our phones.”

Krejcir, who is applying for asylum in South Africa, was this week implicated in a R4.5-million medical insurance scam by his former private physician.

Dr Marian Tupy pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud and was ­sentenced to seven years ­in prison, suspended for five years, as part of a plea agreement in ­exchange for his testimony against Krejcir.

In a damning affidavit, Tupy ­alleges that Krejcir coerced him into falsely diagnosing him with cancer, allowing him to claim R4?579?600 from Liberty Life.

Krejcir also allegedly hoped to use the false “cancer diagnosis” as the basis of an appeal for a presidential ­pardon from the Czech ­Republic.

Reportedly fearing for his life, Tupy approached crime-buster and security expert Paul O’Sullivan – the man whose investigations led to the conviction of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi on corruption charges – and gave him a copy of Krejcir’s medical file.

Du Plessis said he had been aware of Tupy’s allegations for months and had written to the ­Directorate of Public Prosecutions requesting an opportunity to ­respond to them.

“Our guy (Krejcir) has done nothing wrong,” Du Plessis said.

But as the net continues to close around Krejcir, investigators are tightening security around key witnesses.

Apparently a Czech national, identified as “Milash” and ­described as “a professional hit man” is in South Africa, allegedly to kill O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan said he was aware of the existence of “Milash”.

“I am taking steps to see to it that ‘Milash’ is arrested and charged, very soon.”

Krejcir is also being investigated in connection with the ­disappearance and murder of ­millionaire German businessman Uwe Gemballa in February last year.

Gemballa’s body was found in a ­shallow grave in Lotus Gardens last September.

In an affidavit, Tupy claims that Krejcir boasted about his role in the Gemballa murder 10 days after the millionaire’s disappearance.

One of the lead investigators in the Gemballa murder inquiry, ­Detective Inspector Ludi Schnelle, is facing a disciplinary inquiry and has been transferred out of the Hawks after a crucial piece of evidence seized at the murder scene went missing.

Hawks’ spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela said video ­camera footage showed that Schnelle had failed to book in as police evidence a ­laptop he had taken from the house.

There are claims that Schnelle left the laptop in his office and it was subsequently stolen.

Polela said Schnelle was ­removed from the case in line with a standing order implemented last year to combat high levels of ­evidence and docket theft.

“Schnelle lost a very important exhibit in a massive case, so he had to go,” Polela said.

Schnelle could not be reached for comment.

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