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17 Feb 2012 17:31
Controversial businessman, Radovan Krejcir, and his two co-accused were released on bail by the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Magistrate Adriaan Bekker postponed the matter to April 23 to allow police time to continue their investigations into the alleged robbery which took place in October 2011.
Krejcir was ordered to pay R30 000 while Jason Domingues and Veselin Langanin will pay R10 000 each.
Krejcir denied any involvement in an armed robbery, saying he was only helping a friend to collect stolen money.
Krejcir, a high-profile fugitive from the Czech justice system and international businessman, appeared for a bail application with Domingues and Langanin.
They are accused of robbing a Pretoria West shop and holding the owner at gunpoint.
The trio’s affidavits presented to the court said they went to the Pretoria West electronics shop last October to collect money which the owner, a Pakistani national, owed Langanin.
Langanin had left R900 000 in cash packed in a box in the shop, but the money—proceeds from a property sale—had disappeared.
Langanin believed the Pakistani man, the only person who was supposed to know about the cash, was behind its disappearance.
According to the affidavit, Langanin, Krejcir, and Domingues confronted him and he agreed to pay back the money. The Pakistani man then handed the trio a first payment of R105 000, without violence.
Trouble started outside the shop as the three were climbing into their separate vehicles and were confronted by a group of men who attacked them with bricks and stones.
At that stage, Domingues drew his gun and fired “warning shots into the air” to disperse the assailants.
A shoot-out ensued and Domingues was wounded.
Defence advocate Mike Hellens said Langanin and Domingues had opened a case of theft and attempted murder against the Pakistani man at a Pretoria West police station.
Prosecutor Casper Kruger on Friday presented arguments opposing their release on bail.
Kruger read out a statement by the investigating officer Alfred Lebea and also touched on the footage captured by CCTV surveillance at the Pretoria West electronics shop.
Kruger said the three men had travelled to several places across the world before and could abscond if released on bail.
Earlier, Krejcir told the court he believed his arrest was an act of retribution.
In a lengthy submission read out by Hellens, he linked his arrest to legal action he had instituted against Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
This was in reference to legal action in which Krejcir was suing Mthethwa and now suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele for more than R2-million in damages after a raid at his Bedfordview home.
The arrest was “retribution for causing discomfort on the police minister”, Krejcir contended.
Langanin and Domingues believed their arrest was part of a scheme to punish Krejcir.
Through their sworn statements, read out by Hellens, both men asked why police waited for more than three months to arrest them for the alleged robbery.
Langanin’s statement narrates how the Serbian-born property owner moved to South Africa in 1989, and later acquired citizenship.
The three pledged to abide by conditions if they were granted bail and promised not to flee the country.
The court adjourned shortly in the morning for the police to remove leg irons from the trio in terms of an order by Bekker.
On Thursday, Krejcir told the court he had assumed citizenship of the Seychelles and had forfeited his original Czech nationality.
It is alleged that Krejcir, who was arrested upon his arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport in 2007 with a false Seychelles passport, wields influence in South Africa’s underworld.—Sapa
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