Can the Czech Republic get Radovan Krejcir back?

12-09-2005

In the Czech Republic there's a saying that when "you've got it made" you are "za vodou" - across the water. That expression could apply twofold to fugitive millionaire Radovan Krejcir. Two months after giving the Czech police the slip from his luxury home near Prague, the businessman, who is wanted on charges of fraud and planning the murder of a customs official, has surfaced with his family in the Seychelles. Is it likely the Czech Republic will bring him to justice? Not very: Krejcir, his wife, and his son - have all obtained Seychelles citizenship, making it very unlikely the Czech Republic will get Mr Krejcir back.

Radovan KrejcirRadovan Krejcir A lifetime ahead of him in a tropical climate: that's how some are characterising the future for Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, now a fresh citizen of the Seychelles. Two months ago the 37-year-old businessman - wanted for criminal business dealings and allegedly planning murder, gave police the slip from right under their noses, escaping his locked-down villa unnoticed through the back door. The escape cost the police chief his job and left other officers with egg on their faces.

Can Krejcir still be brought to justice?

The Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan said on Sunday that the Czech Republic would be sending two representatives to the Seychelles to negotiate extradition. They'd like to discuss Mr Krejcir's case with Seychelles officials as early as this week.

But how effective can Czech efforts really be? Even the justice minister has expressed his doubts: given that the Czech Republic does not have an extradition treaty with that country, Krejcir's return does not seem likely. Petr Dimun, the spokesman for the Justice Ministry, told one daily on Sunday that the Czechs would do what they could to get Mr Krejcir back, but stressed that the Seychelles were under no obligations to comply.

For now, reports describe the Czech fugitive as "settling in", making no special efforts to conceal his name or whereabouts. He may be missing some of his goods - electronic items, bicycles, furniture - confiscated recently by police from a truck headed out of the Czech Republic, but that appears to be the only inconvenience. Now, Mr Krejcir will join a list of dubious Czech businessmen who for days, months, or years, have eluded justice by escaping abroad. Men on the run with different stories but with something in common: whether the Bahamas, Belize, or the United Arab Emirates, all have exchanged trials and possible jail sentences for countries under the sun.

12-09-2005