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Court reserves Krejcir's extradition judgment

Sapa

Judgment has been reserved in the extradition case of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court.

Radovan Krejcir. (M&G)

Magistrate William Schutte on Thursday said he would make his decision on September 12 on whether or not Krejcir's bid to postpone the start of the state's extradition hearing would be granted.

Mike Hellens, lawyer for the convicted Czech businessperson, argued that the National Prosecution Authority's (NPA) call to begin the extradition hearing should be stalled pending the outcome of Krejcir's appeal of his refugee status.

Hellens argued that an extradition hearing could be rendered futile by a positive outcome at the Refugee Appeal Board, granting his client permanent asylum.

"The whole process need not be started if the end is inevitable. In fact if I may be so bold to say that if the refugee status process works in our favour ... [the state] will withdraw its application for extradition," Hellens said.

Krejcir believed an appeal against the rejection of his bid for refugee status would succeed.

"There are very strong prospects of success in my refugee status case that is before the Refugee Appeals Board," he said in an affidavit read out by Hellens.

Hellens was giving the background to his client's asylum-seeking attempts since 2007.

Fell out of favour 
"I'm personally a holder of a temporary refugee permit ... On September 5 I brought forth an application of asylum status ... It was rejected on October 7," Krejcir said in his affidavit.

Krejcir started a process to appeal against the rejection in February 2008 after he was arrested on arrival in South Africa on April 21 2007.

The court also heard details of how Krejcir and his family made their way to South Africa after he fell out of favour with a Czech politician, after giving him a R20-million loan to fund his campaign to become prime minister.

Krejcir was sentenced in the Czech Republic last year after being convicted in absentia of money-laundering. He would face an 11 year sentence if extradited.

Last month Krejcir survived an attempt on his life in Bedfordview, east Johannesburg.

According to Eyewitness News at the time, shots were fired at Krejcir outside his office near Eastgate. Krejcir said a remote-control-triggered gun with 12 barrels was used. 

The weapon was attached to a red Volkswagen Polo, which burst into flames after firing. – Sapa

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