Krejcir: Do I look evil?
In an interview with Eyewitness News on Friday Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, who is fighting extradition to his home country, insisted he just wanted to live in peace with his family and denied any involvement in a string of killings of friends and associates since he moved to South Africa in 2007.
Of the latest killing, an explosion at his Money Point store in Bedfordview on Tuesday that killed two of his close friends including another Czech fugitive Jan 'John' Charvat, Krejcir said: "I lost two of my closest friends and I'm very sad about it. I believe I'm under attack, because so far there have already been two attempts to murder me."
He said he did not know who was behind the most recent attempt on his life, but was co-operating fully with police. "I do not know if there is some common thread between the deaths of my friends and the attempt on my own life.
I am as puzzled as the public should be about these deaths.
I am not even certain if there is actually any connection between any of these incidents," he said.
Krejcir said the explosion was terrorist in nature.
"We aren't talking now about a hit on one person, we're talking about a serious terrorist attack because they used explosions and they didn't care if there were 20 people or kids there", he said.
"They were willing to blow all these people up so we're talking a different level. We're talking about al-Qaeda style, about terrorism", he said.
In a press release Krejcir said he assumed the explosion was an attempt on his life and also denied any involvement in the recent murders of people associated with him.
"I want to categorically state that I have had no involvement in any of the killings that the media have been so freely speculating about," he stated.
"The South African Police Service is, in particular in relation to these sorts of crimes, very capable of conducting sound investigations. I am sure that if there were any evidence of my involvement, the South African police would have found such evidence."
Krejcir blamed "fabricated" media stories for painting him as a mafia boss and said residents in Bedfordview, who have started a petition calling for him to leave, have nothing to fear.
"Do I look evil?" he asked. "I done nothing wrong in my life", he said in the Eyewitness News interview.
Krejcir continued: "I am very disappointed that the media continuously paint me as the 'bad guy' and seem to relish or enjoy painting me as some sort of evil gangster. I am none of these things. I am a family man who is trying to enjoy his life in the country I love and trying to help everybody. That's all."
He believed the media have created an image of him in order to sell newspapers.
"I feel like that because whoever will slip on banana peel and break his legs its Radovan's fault. Before I came to South Africa there were so many killings and dead people, but now for some reason they blame me for everything ... They need somebody like a boogey man in this country and now they choose me and I will be happy if somebody came and took my place."
Krejcir said he loved living in Bedfordview and local residents had nothing to fear.
"Well, I have no reason to change my place because I have done nothing wrong", he said. "The reaction of the people is from speculation and from what the media serve to them.
"My suburb Bedfordview is very close to my heart and it pains me greatly to hear the various wild and unjustified allegations being made against me. South Africa is the best country in the world to live in."
Krejcir blamed private investigator Paul O'Sullivan for being partly responsible for creating an image of him as a gangland boss.
"I have, and my attorneys have, had occasion to interdict Paul O’Sullivan from threatening us. Quite what his agenda is against me and why he has such an agenda is very difficult to understand but the public and the media should be very careful about relying on anything coming from [him]", he said in the press statement.
The father of two children, aged 21 and four, declined to speak about the ongoing extradition application from the Czech Republic or about his application for refugee status. He said he was "hopeful" that he would be allowed to stay.
"My mother is very worried. My mother would love to move here to this country. Obviously she's not happy. She doesn't want me to go home. She knows if I go home I will be killed for political reasons," said Krejcir.
Tuesday's explosion followed another attempt on his life in July when an armed car, operated by remote control, opened fire on him at the same Bedfordview premises.
Krejcir admitted he was "worried" about further attempts on his life but he would not be increasing his security.
“I don’t believe in more security. Look, they killed JFK, so if these people want to kill me I will be dead. Security is not going to help you," he said.
In the latest development, two properties owned by a company run by Krejcir's wife have been interdicted, the Star reported on Friday.
A deed search on properties linked to Krejcir revealed that an interdict was in place on a Bedfordview property the businessman's family live in as well as another house in Bloemfontein worth R4-million.
Both houses are owned by Groep Twee Beleggings, a company whose sole director was Katerina Krejcirova, Krejcir's wife.
Papers on the interdict on the Bedfordview property at the deeds office in Johannesburg reveal that the interdict was put in place by the South Revenue Service, and it was a caveat order. The house is worth R13-million.
A property caveat is a legal restriction on the use or sale of real estate. – Additional reporting by Sapa