A repossessed villa in Cernošice near Prague in the Czech Republic – that once belonged to Radovan Krejcir – was hit by a "large fire" on Monday night, Czech media reported.
According to a report by Ceská Televize, the flames destroyed the roof of the home, which has been uninhabited since it was repossessed owing to Krecjir's debt in that country. It had reportedly been put on auction, but drew no takers.
Firefighters responded around 01:55 on Tuesday morning, according to Central Bohemian firefighters spokesperson Vladimíra Kereková. Ten units and 55 firefighters battled the blaze, which was brought under control by 08:00.
Týdeník Police confirmed the incident on its website, saying the circumstances and cause of the fire were under investigation. No injuries were reported. The damage is estimated to run into several million rand.
The once luxurious villa reportedly sported an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a sauna, a lift, squash courts, a marble staircase and an aquarium where Krejcir once kept a shark.
Facing more charges
Krejcir is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence at Leeuwkop Prison after being convicted of the attempted murder and kidnapping of Bheki Lukhele, whose brother Doctor had reportedly disappeared with 25kg of Krejcir's tik. Doctor had worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport and Krejcir wanted his help to smuggle the drugs to Australia.
He also faces charges relating to the murder of Bedfordview businessman Sam Issa. Issa was shot dead in his car at the intersection of Bradford and Smith streets, outside the Bedford Centre mall in Bedfordview, on October 12, 2013.
The State alleges that there was a dispute between Krejcir and Issa over R500 000, which Issa had lent Krejcir for bail in another matter.
Krejcir fled the Czech Republic in 2005 after being arrested on a fraud charge. He was found guilty in absentia and is facing a 15-and-a-half-year prison term in that country for fraud amounting to over R70m.
In 2013, Krejcir survived two apparent attempts to kill him. One was when an explosion at his business, Money Point gold and diamond exchange in Bedfordview, killed two associates.
Another was when bullets were shot out of gun barrels concealed behind the number plate of a VW car parked outside his business.