Saturday, November 23, 2013

Who is Radovan Krejcir?




SPECIAL REPORT
South Africa's criminal underworld

Corrupt police officers, high profile murders and warring spy agencies: we track the unfolding story of SA's dark criminal underworld.

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Who is Radovan Krejcir?

South Africa Wednesday 13 November 2013 - 6:11pm

FILE image. Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir outside the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on April 16, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa where the charges of fraud against him have been provisionally dropped. Picture: Gallo Images / The Times / Alon Sku
JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks say a team of seasoned detectives is dealing with the criminal underworld in Bedfordview, following the death of two people in an explosion at Radovan Krejcir’s pawn shop on Tuesday.

The victims are allegedly close associates of the controversial Czech businessman.

But who is Radovan Krejcir?

He’s a dangerous person to know.
RELATED STORIES

Blast rocks city, Krejcir keeps quiet

Cops work on Krejcir blast puzzle

Killed Krejcir associate identified

Fugitive Krejcir survives 'attack on life'

STORY COVERAGE
The underworld

Radovan Krejcir has decided to make South Africa his home. But trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes.

Since he arrived in the country on a fake passport, the bodies of his alleged associates keep piling up.

In February 2010, German supercar conversion specialist Uwe Gemballa was murdered.

He allegedly helped Krejcir smuggle money into the country.

Three months later, strip club owner Lolly Jackson was shot dead.

Jackson was allegedly involved in a multimillion rand money laundering scheme with Krejcir.

In March 2011, Krejcir’s security consultant, Cyril Beeka, was also murdered.

Krejcir has not been charged in connection with any of these murders.

“He’s a dangerous person to know. Are people trying to kill Radovan and other people getting in the way? Or is Radovan’s organisation clearing house? It's pretty unfortunate that since he arrived a few years ago, the SAPS haven’t been able to answer that question," Mail & Guardian journalist Sam Sole mused to eNCA.

Although Krejcir has been accused of armed robbery and insurance fraud in South Africa, neither case stuck.

He is also due back in court next month to fight his extradition to the Czech Republic, where he has been convicted of fraud and tax evasion.

But Krejcir claims he's the victim of a political conspiracy in his homeland, and is applying for refugee status in South Africa.

The controversial businessman has denied any links to the criminal underworld.


-eNCA

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Radovan Krejcir is just a symptom

ALEX ELISEEV

18 APR 2012 06:55 (SOUTH AFRICA)


In many cases, the justice system actually works. But there is a particular class of person who seems to be above it. The masterminds of the underworld seem to be mocking us and those who are meant to protect us.
Radovan Krejcir has a lot to celebrate this week.

Firstly, he beat another court case after the state’s star witness developed a sudden change of heart (not uncommon in the underworld) and decided to challenge his confession. The victory was sweetened with R500,000 in bail money, which was returned to the Czech Republic businessman, or crime boss, depending on who you believe.

Secondly, it’s this week five years ago that Krejcir first arrived in South Africa. As an immigrant myself, I know how important it is to mark such milestones. Late last year my family celebrated 20 years in the country.

Except Krejcir’s arrival was a little different from most. You see, he was arrested at the airport on an Interpol red notice, with a fake passport and (according to police at the time) wearing a somewhat flimsy disguise. He was wanted in his home country for massive fraud and an alleged plot to commit murder.

I remember the arrest well. I covered Krejcir’s capture, of which the police were extremely proud, as well as the extradition hearing that followed. I recall thinking there was no way this man, no matter how powerful back home, would be able to twist his way out of the handcuffs that were slapped on him the minute he touched down. How wrong I was.

Krejcir hired an ace team of lawyers and managed to walk out a free man. His version was that he was a refugee who would certainly be killed should he be sent home. There were tales of political plots, daring escapes and a long journey to flee the dark shadow that followed him. As it turned out, Krejcir has become a shadow himself, spreading rapidly across South Africa and touching – in some way or another – some of the most sensational underworld murders.

He’s had a busy five years. Getting to play poker with Teazers boss Lolly Jackson or earning Cyril Beeka’s trust was probably no picnic. Both these man have, incidentally, been assassinated. Krejcir has not been charged for either crime and maintains he had nothing to do with them.

The point is, the failed extradition hearing in 2007 has allowed Krejcir to make some mighty friends and to spread his tentacles into every desired corner.

Next week, he’s due to go on trial for robbery. Krejcir and two others are accused of robbing an electronics store in Pretoria last year. It remains to be seen whether this case will also collapse. If it does, it will be a further embarrassment to the National Prosecuting Authority.

At one of the court appearances in connection with this robbery, Krejcir joked (in his thick accent): “Me, as a billionaire, do I need to go on a Sunday morning with my flip-flops, shorts and T-shirt to rob people of R20 000?”

It is this arrogant humour – and his lifestyle in general – that draws the cameras towards him. But if one peels away the layers and takes the Hollywood glasses off for just a second, it’s clear this is a man now seen to be above the law.

We should use this opportunity to ask how this was all allowed to happen in the first place, and now that it has, how can it be fixed – if it can be fixed.

What I do know is that if Krejcir’s arrival and arrest happened more recently, I would not have rushed to any conclusions or placed any bets.

I would feel the fingers of the Richard Mdluli saga turning my intestines and wonder how far the lines can blur. How long will it take for sanity to prevail? How many cases can crumble? How many more times will I hear a spokesman tell us that the charges have only been provisionally withdrawn, that the case is not over, that there is still a chance of new arrests…

Reporting on the Jackie Selebi saga would tell me that anything is possible, no matter how fantastical. While the conviction of the national police commissioner – the head of Interpol – was eventually secured, it left in its wake a devastating trail of questionable plea bargains and free-to-roam gangsters. Worse, it set some terrible precedents.

Now we are being forced to watch the sequel. Another police commissioner, another case of corruption laced with political poison. Once again we are seeing bizarre appointments, collapsing cases, cover-ups and what appears to be a blatant abuse of the country’s intelligence units. We are seeing links that run right up to the President and his ministers. And, as we head towards Mangaung, we are seeing a lack of any real action in trying to restore the public’s faith in the system.

Since Krejcir arrived in South Africa, the country’s first citizen – Jacob Zuma – has had charges of corruption against him dropped. Suspected robbers, rapists and rhino poaching kingpins have walked out of courts after their cases disintegrated.

Admittedly, there have been victories. I know some dedicated police officers and brave prosecutors who have fought hard to secure convictions. The legal system can - and does -work. But when it comes to the underworld, the masterminds appear to be mocking us. Every time they emerge from court, smile and crack a joke for the journalists, it’s another dash of salt on a festering wound.

Why are police agents not gathering information from reliable sources, infiltrating syndicates and collapsing them from the inside? Why are cases built on the shoulders of hit men and doctors who swap blood samples to help people defraud insurance companies? Sure you need the occasional snitch (the “domino effect”), but aren’t we seeing too many of these kinds of cases?

You may remember a story in 2006 when two undercover agents of the then Scorpions were arrested, by mistake, at the airport while a drug dealer with R5-million worth of cocaine was allowed to slip through.

It was such a painfully obvious example of what happens when the guardians – whoever they might be – are distracted or prevented from doing their job.

The Scorpions are gone now, but a new struggle is upon us. How many more jokes must we hear outside a courtroom before we realise the real consequences of failure? DM

(ALEX ELISEEV )

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South Africa’s criminal underworld: Is the media reporting the real story?

KHADIJA PATEL SOUTH AFRICA 15 NOV 2013 01:59 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Khadija Beeld

The bomb blast that killed two people in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, this week has catapulted the country’s criminal underworld back into the news.

But disturbing reports of the intimidation of two journalists - and police complicity in this - have raised questions about how we are reporting on the criminal underworld and its activities.
By KHADIJA PATEL.

On Thursday, the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) said Beeld newspaper would be pressing charges against management of the Harbour Fish & Meat Market, a restaurant in Bedfordview, after a team of photographers was allegedly harassed for taking pictures.

The restaurant is the well-known unofficial office of Czech fugitive, Radovan Krejcir, who often meets friends and associates here in a specially constructed bullet-proof booth.

According to SANEF, restaurant employees seized the photographer’s camera after he was spotted taking pictures of the restaurant from the parking lot of the Bedford Centre.

“They removed camera equipment from the journalists’ vehicle and grabbed the camera from photographer Cornel van Heerden’s hands,” a SANEF statement said on Thursday.

The journalists are said to have called Bedford Centre security, who, they allege, refused to intervene.

Beeld then called the Bedfordview police station and three officers were dispatched the scene. The restaurant then offered to release the equipment on condition that pictures of their restaurant were deleted in front of them.

"Shockingly, the SA Police Service members present agreed that the pictures should be deleted," Beeld editor Adriaan Basson said in the statement.

Basson advised his photographer to do as they were told as he says he felt his staff members were under grave threat.

"We have seen numerous photos and footage of the restaurant before. This was a complete overreaction by the restaurant and a failure by the Bedford Centre's management to intervene,” he says.

And while Basson says he will be raising the failure of the South African Police Services (SAPS) to intervene effectively with Commissioner Riah Phiyega, the incident is telling of a broader culture around Krejcir in Bedfordview in which the police seem ultimately irrelevant.

Troubling reports from unnamed crime intelligence officials are that this week’s bomb blast at Krejcir’s Money Point gold and diamond exchange business may be the opening salvo in an escalated warfare between the Czech fugitive and his associates.

William Bird, director of Media Monitoring Africa, says it is concerning that it is only now, after a bomb blast killed two people, that we are really seeing significant efforts to discover who Krejcir actually is.

“I think far too many stories have focused on the incident and there have been only a handful of stories that have sought to unpack who he is and what is really going on,” Bird says. “So even where we saw the incident with the James Bond-style attempt, some key questions about why someone would want to take him out weren’t clear.

“It was as though the world in which he existed was simply too murky,” Bird says.

“Now perhaps this is due to the complexity of organised crime or maybe that there is just not enough investigative journalism, but if we compare it with the issue of rhino poaching, we see a similar pattern where there is some great reporting that seeks to really explain the crimes and look at how they are possible.

Because, to be clear, you aren't talking about some rogue criminals, but organised crime. Similarly, with Krejcir, what we are dealing with is not some petty criminals but organised crime.”

Bird adds that some security experts believe South Africa has become a haven for organised criminals.

Others contend that the way in which the underworld is reported on in the South African media lends it glamour and gives it the sheen of respectability. And when it comes to Krejcir, there is particularly a heightened sensitivity about how he is characterised in the media.

Journalists who dip their feet in the criminal underworld inhabited by Krejcir argue that the public fixation with him is a function of crime being a major part of South African life, be it violent robberies or drive-by shootings.

“I think anyone living in South Africa, and particularly in Johannesburg, has, at some stage, felt like they were walking above a murky underworld.

Sometimes the glass beneath our feet cracks (Radovan Krejcir survives an assassination attempt by a car rigged with a home-made shotgun which is remotely controlled.

Brett Kebble is gunned down on a quiet street in the middle of the night) and the headlines scream at us,” EWN journalist Alex Eliseev told City Press last month.

He believes that even in countries where crime is far less of an issue, there’s still a curiosity about the lives of cops, gangsters, drug dealers and serial murderers.

Bird, however, feels that there has not been sufficient interrogation, context and reporting around the bomb blast in Bedfordview this week.

He describes the media reaction to the blast as “underwhelming”.

“When there is a bomb the underwhelming response is quite disturbing. It's not like bomb blasts are common. Aside from ATM bombings,” he says, adding, “But this is aimed at killing people.”

“I don't think we are being given nearly enough information about what's going on. A bomb in a democratic state and it isn't even front-page news three days after? It's really extraordinary.”

It may be as well that the prevalence of crime, and the concurrent existence of a criminal underworld complete with bomb-detonating abilities, has become so entrenched into the collective ideologies of South Africans that a bomb blast begins to feel normal, weirdly normal.
And the ability of a pair of restaurant employees to strong-arm a photographer appears perfectly in order – even to the police. DM

Photo: Fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Read more:

Alex Eliseev: Radovan Krejcir is just a symptom in Daily Maverick


The magical slippery man, Radovan Krejcir in Daily Maverick

POSTED BY TANGO AT 9:16 PM
LINKS TO THIS POST
Radovan Krejcir in court on Monday – Phiyega

No fear No Favour No confessions........



23 November 2013 14:19



NEWS

Radovan Krejcir. Picture: Lisa van Deventer

Businessman Radovan Krejcir and an associate will appear in the Alberton Magistrates’ Court on Monday, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega has said.

“We will be in court on Monday and should there be an application for bail, we shall oppose it,” she told reporters in Pretoria today.

“We will also be looking at any involvement of our own members.”

The name of Krejcir’s associate, who was arrested with him yesterday, will only be disclosed in court.

In a statement, the police said that although they did not usually name suspects before they appeared in court, “it was decided on the basis of the existence of an arrest warrant and public interest that the suspect [Krejcir] in this instance will be identified”.

Police said yesterday Krejcir had been arrested on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping.
However, Phiyega today said he was arrested on charges of kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Pressed for further particulars, Phiyega said she did not want to prejudice the State’s case.

She also would not mention the details of the complainant, other than saying “it’s a South African male”.

Phiyega said the assault took place in June.

- Sapa
RELATED LINKS

Radovan Krejcir arrest:

Cops forced to give up detainee’s location


Cops arrest Radovan Krejcir – report

East Rand top cop took Radovan Krejcir loan – report

Interactive timeline – Trail of death follows Radovan Krejcir
Bomb blast: Radovan Krejcir not a suspect at this stage – police



CITY PRESS




COMMENTS BY SONNY



Has the Suppression of Communism ACT 44 of 1950 ( renamed the Internal SECURITY ACT of 1976) been applied here?

We will have to wait until Monday 25 November 2013 for details.

KREJCIR WILL KNOW IF HE IS STILL ABOVE THE SA LAWS!

POSTED BY SONNY COX AT 9:57 AM NO COMMENTS:

LINKS TO THIS POST

Krejcir arrest:

Cops forced to give up detainee's location
2013-11-23 08:27



Radovan Krejcir (Picture: AP)

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Johannesburg - Lawyers for controversial Czech fugitive Radovan Krecjir have been granted a court order forcing police to divulge the whereabouts of their client, after he was arrested on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping, according to Eyewitness News.

After initial reports of the arrest, police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale confirmed on Friday that "Krejcir was arrested after 18:00 at his house in Gauteng".

"He was arrested on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping."

But EWN reported that lawyers did not know where Krejcir was being detained, and the order granted by the high court now compelled police to allow him exercise his right to representation.

According to Sapa, late on Friday police said that although they did not usually name suspects before they appeared in court, "it was decided on the basis of the existence of an arrest warrant and public interest that the suspect in this instance will be identified".

A media briefing about the arrest would be held in Pretoria on Saturday.

Last Tuesday, two people died and five were injured in an explosion at Krejcir's business, Money Point, in Befordview, on the East Rand.

In July, Krejcir was the target of an apparent assassination attempt outside Money Point.

Moments after he got out of his car, a remote-controlled gun installed behind the number plate of a car parked near his fired at him. Krejcir escaped unharmed.

The SA Revenue Service said last Friday that all Krejcir's assets had been placed under the control of a curator.


- News24

Read more on: radovan krejcir | johannesburg
POSTED BY TANGO AT 5:48 AM NO COMMENTS: LINKS TO THIS POST
Police swoop on Radovan Krejcir

Krejcir whereabouts still unknown
2013-11-23 10:41



Radovan Krejcir (Picture: AP)

Multimedia · User Galleries · News in Pictures
Send us your pictures · Send us your stories

Related Links
Krejcir arrest:

Cops forced to give up detainee's location


Krejcir arrested - report

Top cop took Krejcir loan - report



Johannesburg - Radovan Krejcir's lawyer on Saturday confirmed that an urgent high court order compelling police to reveal where the Czech businessman was being held, had been granted, but said that police still had not divulged his client's whereabouts.


"We went to court to force the police to tell us where he is being detained," Eddie Classen said.

"At this stage we don't know [where Krejcir is]. We will have to wait for the outcome of the press conference later today."

Classen did not want to say in which court the order was granted or when it was granted.

He said they went to different police stations to try and find Krejcir.

Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale and the National Prosecuting Authority could not be reached for comment.

A media briefing about the arrest would be held in Pretoria on Saturday.

On Friday, police said Krejcir had been arrested on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping.

"I can confirm that Krejcir was arrested after 6pm at his house in Gauteng," Makgale said at the time.

"He was arrested on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping."

In a statement issued later, the police said that although they did not usually name suspects before they appeared in court, "it was decided on the basis of the existence of an arrest warrant and public interest that the suspect in this instance will be identified".

Last Tuesday, two people died and five were injured in an explosion at Krejcir's business, Money Point, in Befordview, on the East Rand.

In July, Krejcir was the target of an apparent assassination attempt outside Money Point.

Moments after he got out of his car, a remote-controlled gun installed behind the number plate of a car parked near his fired at him. Krejcir escaped unharmed.

The SA Revenue Service said last Friday that all Krejcir's assets had been placed under the control of a curator.


- SAPA

Read more on: radovan krejcir | johannesburg

POSTED BY TANGO AT 5:29 AM NO COMMENTS: LINKS TO THIS POST
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2013

GANGLAND SOUTH AFRICA - WORSE THAN CHICAGO - ACCORDING TO STATS "CRIME FREE!"





Censored because of the SECRECY BILL!!
POSTED BY SONNY COX AT 11:28 PM NO COMMENTS: LINKS TO THIS POST
The great Zuma con
No Fear No Favour No Cons pleaze I am Zuma........



Jacques Pauw and Charl du Plessis
17 November 2013 14:00



How did a con man manage a meeting with the highest office in the land? Jacques Pauw andCharl du Plessis investigate.

The man sitting next to President Jacob Zuma in the photograph is an ­international con man and fraudster.

Willi Karl Balthasar Breuer has also been an illegal immigrant in South ­Africa for the past eight years.

Despite not having a work or home address and not even holding a legal passport, the 61-year-old German businessman secured a private audience with Zuma at his Johannesburg home last September.


German national Willi Breuer with President Jacob Zuma at his Johannesburg home.

City Press has pieced together the ­details that led to the country’s highest office meeting and engaging a con man and an illegal immigrant  – described by a security expert as a complete failure by the intelligence services to protect the president.


Breuer boasted at the meeting that he and his company, Auxilium Africa, were going to invest billions in South Africa and transform waste management, particularly in poorer municipalities.

A source close to Breuer told City Press that Breuer’s proposal was “enthusiastically” received by Zuma.

Since his meeting with Zuma, Breuer has been trying to flog his project to municipalities in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

A year after meeting Zuma, Breuer and Auxilium have not invested a cent in South Africa.

However, what the German businessman has done is to lure potential investors with claims that Auxilium is one of the biggest buyers and sellers of gold in the world, and that it has access to the Vatican’s vast stockpile of the ­precious metal.

A former Breuer confidant – who did not want his name mentioned but is prepared to testify in court – said ­Breuer used the Zuma meeting and photograph as a “marketing tool” to lure potential investors and boost his credibility.


City Press could not find any evidence that Breuer or Auxilium Africa –  of which he is the CEO – was vetted by the presidency or the intelligence community prior to the meeting.

A simple Google search would have revealed details on online forums of complaints of fraud against Spain-based Auxilium International and its South African affiliate, Auxilium Africa.

Despite repeated requests, Zuma and the presidency failed to respond to questions about the meeting, what transpired there and who advised him to meet Breuer.

Breuer refused to divulge anything about his relationship with Zuma or the fact that he has been living and working illegally in South Africa for eight years.

He denied any claims of fraud.


A spokesperson for the home affairs department confirmed this week that Breuer entered South Africa on a three-month tourist visa in 2005.

He has ­neither applied for a work permit nor left South Africa again.

City Press is in possession of a copy of Breuer’s German passport, which ­expired in 2011.

One of Breuer’s business associates, Nicky Khan, said he attended the meeting and that it was “brokered” by a private investigator, Frans Richards.

Richards, who says he conducts ­investigations for government “at the highest level” and knows Zuma, admits that he also attended the meeting, but denied that he “brokered” it.
He said the meeting was arranged by “some Indian guys from KZN” and that he was asked to attend as an observer.

Richards says some time after the meeting, he performed “due diligence” on Breuer and Auxilium, and forwarded a “thick report” to the director-general of the State Security Agency (SSA) to investigate Breuer and his outfit because they were “con men”.

The SSA did not respond to questions about the report by Richards, and whether Breuer and Auxilium were ­being investigated.

City Press was told that Breuer and Auxilium subsequently met Free State premier Ace Magashule and then ­KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize, who is also the ANC’s treasurer-general.

Despite multiple phone calls and messages, neither Mkhize nor ­Magashule had commented at the time of going to print.

One of the municipalities that Auxilium targeted was Masilonyana (Theunissen) in the Free State. Breuer used Finance Union, a subsidiary of Auxilium, to pitch his project.
The Masilonyana council initially ­enthusiastically embraced the project before it was finally shot down.

DA councillor Philip Botha said the project included “astronomical” consultation fees and was nothing but a “scam”. They never heard from Finance Union again.

Breuer’s confidant said he worked with Breuer for two years. The German stayed with him on and off for almost a year.

He says Breuer moves around and does not have a permanent home or work address. This means that no one can trace him.

The consultant presented City Press with a dossier of documents that included Auxilium’s correspondence to investors.

There are also bank cheques, drafts and bonds from banks such as Banco do Brasil and JP Morgan Chase. The bank documents are forgeries.

“It was all false,” he said.

“Breuer is nothing but a con man and a thief. Everything they’re involved in is a fraud.”

He says he does not know about any instance where anybody made any money, other than Auxilium.

Breuer said he could not comment on any of the allegations and requested “proof from the various authorities” in order to respond.

The chief financial officer of Auxilium International, Arthur Hirner, ­referred to the questions by City Press as an “irritating mixture of statements and wrong evidences”.
Why does it matter?

The South African power elite have a long history of engaging with international fraudsters, con men and criminals.

South Africa’s history is peppered with colourful characters who came to South Africa to either hide here or to make money.

This has only been possible with the assistance of politicians, representatives of the security services or the department of home affairs.

Sometimes it is all three. One only needs to think of apartheid sanctions-busting billionaire Marino Chiavelli and wanted Mafia kingpin Vito Palazzollo, who entered South Africa in the 1980s.


In the mid-1990s, there was the arrival of such fraudsters as Emmanuel Shaw (Liberian dictator Charles Taylor’s corrupt finance minister), who worked closely with Penuell Maduna’s minerals and energy department.

The Western Cape attracted J├╝rgen Harksen, the German fugitive who funded the DA.

In almost all these instances, the success of these individuals rested on two things – access to senior politicians who were beguiled by their silver tongues or their criminal resourcefulness.

If the facts presented by City Press are correct, the presidency must explain how it allowed an alleged con man (Willi Breuer) to meet the president and what the criteria are for such meetings.

It suggests very poor judgement by the president’s most senior gatekeepers and President Zuma himself for agreeing to such a meeting. Someone among the well-paid staff at the presidency must have asked: Who is this man?


The other crucial element is the role of the intelligence services, which are bound to protect the republic from the influence of such individuals.

This comes at the same time that the State Security Agency is beating the drum for more power to withhold information in the form of the ominous Secrecy Bill.

Instead of giving more power to the country’s spies, Parliament should be calling for a full investigation into this matter.

This should require the president and state security minister to explain how – and more importantly, why – alleged criminals have seemingly easy access to the Union Buildings.

» Van Vuuren is the former head of the corruption and governance programme at the Institute for Security Studies. He is now a fellow at the Open Society Foundation

RELATED LINKS

Mantashe echoes Zuma on born-frees, Angie Motshekga’s successes

Full speech – President Jacob Zuma on the presidency's budget vote

Full statement – President Jacob Zuma on SA soldiers' death in CAR

President Jacob Zuma apologizes to the nation


CITY PRESS



COMMENTS BY SONNY


So many Zombies have conned Zuma in the past it comes naturally now.

The President is gullible when it comes to precious metals......

you can land a plane with a promise of a golden gift!!

POSTED BY SONNY COX AT 10:46 PM NO COMMENTS: LINKS TO THIS POST






Comments
Who is Radovan Krejcir?

South Africa Wednesday 13 November 2013 - 6:11pm

FILE image. Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir outside the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on April 16, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa where the charges of fraud against him have been provisionally dropped. Picture: Gallo Images / The Times / Alon Sku
JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks say a team of seasoned detectives is dealing with the criminal underworld in Bedfordview, following the death of two people in an explosion at Radovan Krejcir’s pawn shop on Tuesday.

The victims are allegedly close associates of the controversial Czech businessman.

But who is Radovan Krejcir?

He’s a dangerous person to know.
RELATED STORIES

Blast rocks city, Krejcir keeps quiet

Cops work on Krejcir blast puzzle

Killed Krejcir associate identified

Fugitive Krejcir survives 'attack on life'

STORY COVERAGE
The underworld

Radovan Krejcir has decided to make South Africa his home. But trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes.

Since he arrived in the country on a fake passport, the bodies of his alleged associates keep piling up.

In February 2010, German supercar conversion specialist Uwe Gemballa was murdered.

He allegedly helped Krejcir smuggle money into the country.

Three months later, strip club owner Lolly Jackson was shot dead.

Jackson was allegedly involved in a multimillion rand money laundering scheme with Krejcir.

In March 2011, Krejcir’s security consultant, Cyril Beeka, was also murdered.

Krejcir has not been charged in connection with any of these murders.

“He’s a dangerous person to know. Are people trying to kill Radovan and other people getting in the way? Or is Radovan’s organisation clearing house? It's pretty unfortunate that since he arrived a few years ago, the SAPS haven’t been able to answer that question," Mail & Guardian journalist Sam Sole mused to eNCA.

Although Krejcir has been accused of armed robbery and insurance fraud in South Africa, neither case stuck.

He is also due back in court next month to fight his extradition to the Czech Republic, where he has been convicted of fraud and tax evasion.

But Krejcir claims he's the victim of a political conspiracy in his homeland, and is applying for refugee status in South Africa.

The controversial businessman has denied any links to the criminal underworld.


-eNCA

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Radovan Krejcir is just a symptom

ALEX ELISEEV

18 APR 2012 06:55 (SOUTH AFRICA)


In many cases, the justice system actually works. But there is a particular class of person who seems to be above it. The masterminds of the underworld seem to be mocking us and those who are meant to protect us.
Radovan Krejcir has a lot to celebrate this week.

Firstly, he beat another court case after the state’s star witness developed a sudden change of heart (not uncommon in the underworld) and decided to challenge his confession. The victory was sweetened with R500,000 in bail money, which was returned to the Czech Republic businessman, or crime boss, depending on who you believe.

Secondly, it’s this week five years ago that Krejcir first arrived in South Africa. As an immigrant myself, I know how important it is to mark such milestones. Late last year my family celebrated 20 years in the country.

Except Krejcir’s arrival was a little different from most. You see, he was arrested at the airport on an Interpol red notice, with a fake passport and (according to police at the time) wearing a somewhat flimsy disguise. He was wanted in his home country for massive fraud and an alleged plot to commit murder.

I remember the arrest well. I covered Krejcir’s capture, of which the police were extremely proud, as well as the extradition hearing that followed. I recall thinking there was no way this man, no matter how powerful back home, would be able to twist his way out of the handcuffs that were slapped on him the minute he touched down. How wrong I was.

Krejcir hired an ace team of lawyers and managed to walk out a free man. His version was that he was a refugee who would certainly be killed should he be sent home. There were tales of political plots, daring escapes and a long journey to flee the dark shadow that followed him. As it turned out, Krejcir has become a shadow himself, spreading rapidly across South Africa and touching – in some way or another – some of the most sensational underworld murders.

He’s had a busy five years. Getting to play poker with Teazers boss Lolly Jackson or earning Cyril Beeka’s trust was probably no picnic. Both these man have, incidentally, been assassinated. Krejcir has not been charged for either crime and maintains he had nothing to do with them.

The point is, the failed extradition hearing in 2007 has allowed Krejcir to make some mighty friends and to spread his tentacles into every desired corner.

Next week, he’s due to go on trial for robbery. Krejcir and two others are accused of robbing an electronics store in Pretoria last year. It remains to be seen whether this case will also collapse. If it does, it will be a further embarrassment to the National Prosecuting Authority.

At one of the court appearances in connection with this robbery, Krejcir joked (in his thick accent): “Me, as a billionaire, do I need to go on a Sunday morning with my flip-flops, shorts and T-shirt to rob people of R20 000?”

It is this arrogant humour – and his lifestyle in general – that draws the cameras towards him. But if one peels away the layers and takes the Hollywood glasses off for just a second, it’s clear this is a man now seen to be above the law.

We should use this opportunity to ask how this was all allowed to happen in the first place, and now that it has, how can it be fixed – if it can be fixed.

What I do know is that if Krejcir’s arrival and arrest happened more recently, I would not have rushed to any conclusions or placed any bets.

I would feel the fingers of the Richard Mdluli saga turning my intestines and wonder how far the lines can blur. How long will it take for sanity to prevail? How many cases can crumble? How many more times will I hear a spokesman tell us that the charges have only been provisionally withdrawn, that the case is not over, that there is still a chance of new arrests…

Reporting on the Jackie Selebi saga would tell me that anything is possible, no matter how fantastical. While the conviction of the national police commissioner – the head of Interpol – was eventually secured, it left in its wake a devastating trail of questionable plea bargains and free-to-roam gangsters. Worse, it set some terrible precedents.

Now we are being forced to watch the sequel. Another police commissioner, another case of corruption laced with political poison. Once again we are seeing bizarre appointments, collapsing cases, cover-ups and what appears to be a blatant abuse of the country’s intelligence units. We are seeing links that run right up to the President and his ministers. And, as we head towards Mangaung, we are seeing a lack of any real action in trying to restore the public’s faith in the system.

Since Krejcir arrived in South Africa, the country’s first citizen – Jacob Zuma – has had charges of corruption against him dropped. Suspected robbers, rapists and rhino poaching kingpins have walked out of courts after their cases disintegrated.

Admittedly, there have been victories. I know some dedicated police officers and brave prosecutors who have fought hard to secure convictions. The legal system can - and does -work. But when it comes to the underworld, the masterminds appear to be mocking us. Every time they emerge from court, smile and crack a joke for the journalists, it’s another dash of salt on a festering wound.

Why are police agents not gathering information from reliable sources, infiltrating syndicates and collapsing them from the inside? Why are cases built on the shoulders of hit men and doctors who swap blood samples to help people defraud insurance companies? Sure you need the occasional snitch (the “domino effect”), but aren’t we seeing too many of these kinds of cases?

You may remember a story in 2006 when two undercover agents of the then Scorpions were arrested, by mistake, at the airport while a drug dealer with R5-million worth of cocaine was allowed to slip through.

It was such a painfully obvious example of what happens when the guardians – whoever they might be – are distracted or prevented from doing their job.

The Scorpions are gone now, but a new struggle is upon us. How many more jokes must we hear outside a courtroom before we realise the real consequences of failure? DM

(ALEX ELISEEV )

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South Africa’s criminal underworld: Is the media reporting the real story?

KHADIJA PATEL SOUTH AFRICA 15 NOV 2013 01:59 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Khadija Beeld

The bomb blast that killed two people in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, this week has catapulted the country’s criminal underworld back into the news. But disturbing reports of the intimidation of two journalists - and police complicity in this - have raised questions about how we are reporting on the criminal underworld and its activities. By KHADIJA PATEL.

On Thursday, the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) said Beeld newspaper would be pressing charges against management of the Harbour Fish & Meat Market, a restaurant in Bedfordview, after a team of photographers was allegedly harassed for taking pictures. The restaurant is the well-known unofficial office of Czech fugitive, Radovan Krejcir, who often meets friends and associates here in a specially constructed bullet-proof booth.

According to SANEF, restaurant employees seized the photographer’s camera after he was spotted taking pictures of the restaurant from the parking lot of the Bedford Centre.

“They removed camera equipment from the journalists’ vehicle and grabbed the camera from photographer Cornel van Heerden’s hands,” a SANEF statement said on Thursday.

The journalists are said to have called Bedford Centre security, who, they allege, refused to intervene.

Beeld then called the Bedfordview police station and three officers were dispatched the scene. The restaurant then offered to release the equipment on condition that pictures of their restaurant were deleted in front of them.

"Shockingly, the SA Police Service members present agreed that the pictures should be deleted," Beeld editor Adriaan Basson said in the statement.

Basson advised his photographer to do as they were told as he says he felt his staff members were under grave threat.

"We have seen numerous photos and footage of the restaurant before. This was a complete overreaction by the restaurant and a failure by the Bedford Centre's management to intervene,” he says.

And while Basson says he will be raising the failure of the South African Police Services (SAPS) to intervene effectively with Commissioner Riah Phiyega, the incident is telling of a broader culture around Krejcir in Bedfordview in which the police seem ultimately irrelevant.

Troubling reports from unnamed crime intelligence officials are that this week’s bomb blast at Krejcir’s Money Point gold and diamond exchange business may be the opening salvo in an escalated warfare between the Czech fugitive and his associates.

William Bird, director of Media Monitoring Africa, says it is concerning that it is only now, after a bomb blast killed two people, that we are really seeing significant efforts to discover who Krejcir actually is.

“I think far too many stories have focused on the incident and there have been only a handful of stories that have sought to unpack who he is and what is really going on,” Bird says. “So even where we saw the incident with the James Bond-style attempt, some key questions about why someone would want to take him out weren’t clear.

“It was as though the world in which he existed was simply too murky,” Bird says.

“Now perhaps this is due to the complexity of organised crime or maybe that there is just not enough investigative journalism, but if we compare it with the issue of rhino poaching, we see a similar pattern where there is some great reporting that seeks to really explain the crimes and look at how they are possible. Because, to be clear, you aren't talking about some rogue criminals, but organised crime. Similarly, with Krejcir, what we are dealing with is not some petty criminals but organised crime.”

Bird adds that some security experts believe South Africa has become a haven for organised criminals.

Others contend that the way in which the underworld is reported on in the South African media lends it glamour and gives it the sheen of respectability. And when it comes to Krejcir, there is particularly a heightened sensitivity about how he is characterised in the media.

Journalists who dip their feet in the criminal underworld inhabited by Krejcir argue that the public fixation with him is a function of crime being a major part of South African life, be it violent robberies or drive-by shootings.

“I think anyone living in South Africa, and particularly in Johannesburg, has, at some stage, felt like they were walking above a murky underworld. Sometimes the glass beneath our feet cracks (Radovan Krejcir survives an assassination attempt by a car rigged with a home-made shotgun which is remotely controlled. Brett Kebble is gunned down on a quiet street in the middle of the night) and the headlines scream at us,” EWN journalist Alex Eliseev told City Press last month.

He believes that even in countries where crime is far less of an issue, there’s still a curiosity about the lives of cops, gangsters, drug dealers and serial murderers.

Bird, however, feels that there has not been sufficient interrogation, context and reporting around the bomb blast in Bedfordview this week.

He describes the media reaction to the blast as “underwhelming”.

“When there is a bomb the underwhelming response is quite disturbing. It's not like bomb blasts are common. Aside from ATM bombings,” he says, adding, “But this is aimed at killing people.”

“I don't think we are being given nearly enough information about what's going on. A bomb in a democratic state and it isn't even front-page news three days after? It's really extraordinary.”

It may be as well that the prevalence of crime, and the concurrent existence of a criminal underworld complete with bomb-detonating abilities, has become so entrenched into the collective ideologies of South Africans that a bomb blast begins to feel normal, weirdly normal. And the ability of a pair of restaurant employees to strong-arm a photographer appears perfectly in order – even to the police. DM

Photo: Fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Read more:

Alex Eliseev: Radovan Krejcir is just a symptom in Daily Maverick

The magical slippery man, Radovan Krejcir in Daily Maverick

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