The bodies of people associated with Radovan Krejcir have been piling up since the Czech fugitive entered South Africa on a false passport in 2007.
The list of identified victims numbers five (though there are rumours of at least one other) and began with the shooting, in December 2009, of Kevin Trytsman.
Trytsman was a private investigator who liked to boast of an association with the National Intelligence Agency and drove a black van with the registration “NIA?001?GP”.
He made a living from information peddling and claiming to be able to assist people with “legal difficulties”. Several sources have told the M&G that Krejcir spent some R500 000 getting “help” from Trytsman, but with apparently unsatisfactory results.
Trytsman was shot at the office of his attorney, George Michaelides. However, according to an affidavit prepared by Paul O’Sullivan (see ‘The Nemesis” below), Michaelides received a strange visit after the shooting.
O’Sullivan wrote: “Michaelides — advised me, inter alia, that after he had shot Trytsman, which he alleges he did in self defence, George Smith walked into his offices and congratulated him. George Smith [whose real name is George Louka] subsequently invited him to lunch with Krejcir, who wanted to show his ‘appreciation’ for the killing of Trytsman.”
George Smith is the Cyprus-born fugitive who worked for Krejcir and is wanted for questioning in the murder of former Teazers’ boss Lolly Jackson.
Uwe Gemballa was kidnapped on his arrival at OR Tambo International Airport on February 8 last year.
He apparently believed he was meeting a businessman named Jerome Safi to discuss Safi opening a franchise of the Gemballa sports car business. Safi was, in fact, working for Krejcir at the time, something he apparently did not disclose to Gemballa.
However, Safi did not go the airport to meet his guest. Instead, he sent his girlfriend, Tenielle Dippenaar, and his uncle David.
According to a source who has seen the airport surveillance tapes, they did not go to the international arrivals area to wait for Gemballa. Instead, Dippenaar simply walked past international arrivals twice some time after Gemballa’s plane had landed. When he emerged shortly afterwards, he was met by a man identified as Garlond Holworthy.
Holworthy (32) was jailed in December for an unrelated house break-in and has, to date, not been charged with the Gemballa murder.
Another accomplice, Thabiso Mpye, who pleaded guilty to the murder, described to police how Gemballa was handed over to two other men, named Kizzer and Madala. He said Gemballa was taken to a house — identified by police as being rented by Krejcir’s business manager, Ivan Savov — where he was later suffocated. Savov has claimed he was out of the country at the time and has denied Gemballa was killed at his home.
The M&G reported last week how police had linked a cellphone used to phone Gemballa’s wife to pay-as-you-go vouchers purchased on behalf of a Krejcir associate, Michael Arsiotis.
A waitress described how she had been sent to buy the vouchers by Arsiotis, who was sitting with Krejcir, Safi, Smith and two unidentified men.
Lolly Jackson was murdered in May 2010, allegedly by George Smith, who is said to be in hiding in Cyprus.
Earlier evidence obtained by O’Sullivan disclosed a money-laundering scheme entered into between Krejcir and Jackson. In an affidavit O’Sullivan says he shared information about the laundering operation with General Joey Mabasa, then head of crime intelligence in Gauteng.
The M&G later revealed that Krejcir’s wife and Mabasa’s wife had set up a company together.
Johannesburg businessman Chris Kouremetis, who was murdered in October 2010, has been linked to Krejcir by intelligence sources who briefed the M&G on condition of anonymity.
Kouremetis was gunned down after a wedding at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Gauteng in a hit that was ascribed to a drug deal gone sour. There is, however, no evidence linking Krejcir to the killing.
Cyril Beeka played a key role in Krejcir’s life in South Africa, although it appears that mistrust had recently developed between the two men.
Beeka initially served as Krejcir’s security consultant, but later the two set up plans to go into gold trading and a gold refinery business together.
Beeka and Krejcir shared a love of fast cars and motorbikes and would race their “toys” at Kyalami racetrack, several sources have confirmed.
It is also alleged that Beeka introduced Krejcir to President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, who shared an enthusiasm for fast bikes.
Contacted on Thursday morning, Duduzane asked for questions to be emailed to him. The New Age managing editor and Gupta family spokesman, Gary Naidoo, replied on his behalf: “Mr Cyril Beeka has met a violent and untimely death and I do not wish to make any comments on the deceased. May his family obtain all the strength and courage during this difficult time.”
Latterly the relationship between Krejcir and Beeka had soured, notably after an incident at Beeka’s birthday party in Cape Town in November.
A source close to Beeka told the M&G: “It was Cyril’s birthday and Radovan got a bit drunk. Everyone was a bit drunk. [Radovan] started to push the bouncers around and Cyril asked him to calm down, but he wouldn’t and he got a klap. It wasn’t a heavy klap, just an educational blow, but it didn’t go down well, and that’s about as far as that went.”
Cape Town club owner Jerome Booysen has confirmed that Beeka was returning from a meeting with him in Belhar when he was gunned down. He says he and Beeka were on good terms.
Intelligence sources claim Krejcir met one of Booysen’s business associates, Mark Lifman, about three weeks ago. Lifman, without being given the reason for the M&G‘s call, said: “I cannot render any comment. I have been overseas and I am trying to pick up on what has been going on. I wasn’t a friend of [Beeka’s], so I can’t comment.”
Asked about Krejcir, he said: “I am going to give you the same comment. I’m not prepared to make any comment. I need to pick up the pieces and I’m consulting an attorney. I have been called by about seven journalists.”
The nemesis: Number two on the hit-list
It is little wonder that Paul O’Sullivan was number two on the alleged hit-list discovered at Radovan Krejcir’s Bedfordview mansion.
If there is a scandal around the Krejcir case it is that but for the efforts of forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan the Czech would probably have obtained political asylum in South Africa by now.
Following his central involvement in the investigation of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, O’Sullivan has been pivotal in bringing forward witnesses and evidence against Krejcir.
- It was O’Sullivan who torpedoed Krejcir’s bid to bamboozle the Refugee Appeal Board into giving him asylum because of an alleged political plot against him in the Czech republic, which is seeking to extradite him.
O’Sullivan sent the board — which operates in secret — a detailed affidavit setting out the evidence against Krecjir just before the hearing was scheduled at the beginning of February, forcing Krejcir’s lawyer to apply for an open-ended postponement.
- It was O’Sullivan who procured an affidavit from, and the eventual co-operation of, Dr Marian Tupy, the Czech-born urologist who had been pressured into providing Krejcir with a false cancer diagnosis. Tupy’s agreement to testify in the R4.5-million insurance fraud flowing from Krejcir’s fake terminal illness appears to have been the blow that led Krejcir to panic and act on his “hit list”.
- It was Tupy’s affidavit that first alleged a direct link between Krejcir and the murder of German businessman Uwe Gemballa, and it was another affidavit, obtained by O’Sullivan from gold dealer Juan Meyer, that set out the allegation that Krejcir had promised a “surprise” for Gemballa after a disagreement about money the German allegedly owed Krejcir.
- It was O’Sullivan who tirelessly pushed the Hawks and prosecuting authority to act against Krejcir.
- It was O’Sullivan’s pursuit of Selebi that led him to Krejcir, perhaps not suprisingly, given that key players in the Selebi saga, such as Glenn Agliotti and the Kebble shooters (Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Faizel Smith) attached themselves to Krejcir in the aftermath of the Selebi trial.
In a statement submitted to the Refugee Appeal Board, O’Sullivan explained how he had come upon Krejcir.
During his Selebi investigation he had come up against Kevin Trytsman, a private investigator who claimed to work for the intelligence services.
Trytsman appeared to be running an interference operation against at least two witnesses in the Selebi case and so O’Sullivan put him under the spotlight.
“By October 2009 I had met with Trytsman and advised him I had enough to have him arrested. He was apologetic and agreed to give me further information if I left him alone,” his statement to the board said.
It was Trytsman who then provided information about the relationship between Krejcir and Lolly Jackson, which led O’Sullivan to banker Alekos Panayi and the money-laundering scheme involving Jackson, Krejcir and George Smith, aka Louka, who acted as a front man for Krejcir.
Two months later Trytsman was shot dead in the offices of his attorney, George Michaelides.
It was also O’Sullivan’s success with the Selebi case that prompted Tupy to contact him, when Tupy began to be actively afraid of his patient.
O’Sullivan’s eight-year crusade has cost him dearly.
It began when he was suspended and later fired from his job as head of security at Johannesburg International Airport, apparently following the intervention of Selebi.
The Irish expatriate’s determination to find out why led him to probe Selebi, leading him to Glenn Agliotti and the murder of Brett Kebble.
From a senior executive position and a brace of smart cars, O’Sullivan has had to move his family out of the country for their safety, drives a rented car and relies on informal corporate backing for his anti-crime campaign. — Sam Sole, Stefaans Brümmer & Craig McKune
The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story. All views are the centre’s. www.amabhungane.co.za.