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Court upholds 15-year prison sentence for fugitive Krejčíř

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Prague, March 28 (CTK) – The Prague High Court definitively upheld a consecutive 15-year prison sentence given to fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir for his crimes committed in the Czech Republic and rejected his appeal on Wednesday.

The court also banned Krejcir from working in firms’ statutory bodies for five years.

This verdict cannot be appealed.

Krejcir’s defence lawyer Karolina Babakova believes that he will file a petition for an appellate review and she insists that his criminal activities were not proved in court, she told reporters on Wednesday.

Babakova also said the case should have been proceeded with her client present. However, the court panel rejected her arguments, pointing to Krejcir’s escape from the police to South Africa in 2005.

Court panel chairman Martin Zelenka said the process of Krejcir’s extradition might be long as it was complicated by another four penal proceedings with him in South Africa.

Krejcir was charged with an attempted siphoning off assets from the state firm Cepro and the preparation of a customs officer’s murder in the Czech Republic.

According to the charges, Krejcir created fictitious claims of the Bena and Tukovy prumysl Ostrava firms worth three billion crowns against Cepro, which he claimed in court then.

He also wanted to deposit counterfeit Swiss francs in one of the firms and bribed a customs officer into seizing the sum seemingly to cover a customs debt and escaping with the money. Consequently, the firm would have a two-billion-crown claim against the state. Krejcir planned to murder the customs officer then.

The consecutive sentence includes the previous punishments for a 0.5-billion-crown tax evasion, embezzlement and other crimes of which Krejcir was convicted in the past.

Krejcir is now serving a 35-year prison sentence for attempted murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking in South Africa, which was imposed on him in 2017.

He was originally seeking a political asylum in this country, but withdrew his application later.

Krejcir escaped during a search of his luxury villa in Cernosice near Prague in 2005. He left with his wife and son for the Seychelles and later he moved to South Africa where he was taken into custody and tried on suspicion of serious crimes.

He is prosecuted in the Czech Republic as fugitive. The High Court decided on his appeal in absentia.

The Czech Republic has sought Krejcir’s extradition since 2007. A South African court ruled recently that he can be extradited. The Czech Justice Ministry is considering further steps.

After his possible extradition, Krejcir will have the right to ask Czech courts to proceed his cases again with him present.

Babakova is of the view that the chance of Krejcir’s extradition to the Czech Republic is “relatively high.”

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