Czech fugitive back behind bars

Date: 14 Jun 2007
After eight days of being "missing in action", international fugitive Radovan Krejcir has handed himself over to police. The Czech Republic tycoon was due to surrender himself at the Kempton Park police station at 11am but was instead taken into custody by Interpol at the nearby offices of his lawyer yesterday. Due to a legal technicality, Krejcir strolled out of Modderbee Prison on June 4 and, for over a week, Interpol and the state had no idea where their high-profile suspect was. All airports were alerted and police began their search. Krejcir is wanted in his homeland for massive fraud and attempted murder. Two years ago, he fled to the Seychelles - where he obtained new citizenship - and in April attempted to sneak into South Africa on a fake passport. He was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport and has been fighting for bail ever since. He was eventually released, on a High Court order, because the 40 days that the state had to receive official extradition papers from the Czech Republic had expired. There was also a bungle when Interpol came to re-arrest him at the prison, but were told that no more prisoners would be set free that day - despite an after-hours agreement struck with his defence team. Yesterday, Krejcir's lawyer, Hugo van der Westhuizen, argued for his client to be released on bail because Interpol had acted in bad faith. Van der Westhuizen claimed Interpol had indicated they would arrest him under the immigration law - which means Krejcir (39) would be deported like any other illegal immigrant - but instead arrested him under an extradition warrant. A deportation would mean Krejcir is sent back to the Seychelles, while an extradition would see him flown back to the Czech Republic, where he faces possible life behind bars. A bail ruling was due to be given today. By Alex Eliseev The Star 14/06/07 e1