Kre­j­cir run­ner de­scribes meet­ing ‘taxi boss hit­man’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAIN GERMANER

THE first time Lyubomir Borislavov Grig­orov met Czech un­der­world king­pin Radovan Kre­j­cir, he was in the mid­dle of a busi­ness deal in­volv­ing two jet en­gines.

Grig­orov, a Bul­gar­ian oth­er­wise known to his friends as “Boris or “Mike”, was look­ing for work. Grig­orov couldn’t quite re­mem­ber the date of the meet­ing: late 2011, maybe 2012, but he re­mem­bers the lo­ca­tion.

The Har­bour Restau­rant at the Bed­ford Cen­tre had been Kre­j­cir’s haunt for years while he ran his gold and di­a­mond-ex­change shop, Money Point, a few kilo­me­tres down the road. Grig­orov’s friend Alex had brought him word of the two en­gines he was try­ing to un­load on Kre­j­cir.

The out­come of the deal re­mains un­ex­plained in Grig­orov’s re­cent tes­ti­mony against Kre­j­cir, but it does re­veal his first im­pres­sion of the larger-than-life sus­pected mob boss.

At first Grig­orov was al­legedly hired to take Kre­j­cir’s many cars for ser­vic­ing, re­new­ing of li­cense discs and the oc­ca­sional er­rand. For months the run­ner would go to the restau­rant to meet Kre­j­cir and rose in the level of trust Kre­j­cir had in him. He said he had been told to quit his job run­ning for­eign ex­change ser­vices at casi­nos across Gaut­eng as bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties were on the way.

Eastern Euro­pean con­tacts would also re­port­edly visit the restau­rant in their deal­ings with Kre­j­cir, in­clud­ing Bas­sam “Sam” Issa, the al­leged Bed­ford­view drug dealer whose grue­some killing is at the cen­tre of Kre­j­cir’s mur­der trial. Issa and Kre­j­cir were friendly at first, ac­cord­ing to Grig­orov.

Grig­orov said he met Kre­j­cir’s co-ac­cused through his time at Money Point. Mfaniseni Memela, Nkany­iso Ma­funda and Si­bon­iso Miya had all al­legedly vis­ited the busi­ness at var­i­ous times, with Memela in­tro­duced as a “taxi boss hit­man”. How­ever, it was Miya who made the most ap­pear­ances, also a run­ner for Kre­j­cir.

Some­time in early 2013, Miya was ap­par­ently asked to take a white Ford Ranger – the ve­hi­cle be­lieved to be used in Issa’s killing – to have blue lights and a siren in­stalled. Grig­orov said he had handed over the R20 000 to pay for the mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Only months later self-con­fessed hit­man and rob­ber, Lucky Mokoena – also now a state wit­ness – en­tered the pic­ture. Grig­orov be­lieved Mokoena had been in­tro­duced to Kre­j­cir by con­victed drugdealer, Glenn Agliotti, though Agliotti has since de­nied any knowl­edge of this.

Mokoena had al­legedly been brought in after a se­ries of ar­gu­ments be­tween Issa and Kre­j­cir.

The first was at the Har­bour Restau­rant, where Issa re­port­edly asked Kre­j­cir to pay back the R500 000 he owed to him. After a heated ar­gu­ment, Grig­orov said Issa had re­fused to pay his bill and left, with Kre­j­cir telling Grig­orov that if Issa did not stop “mak­ing noise” about the money, his life would be at stake.

Later, Issa al­legedly ar­rived at Money Point and took a Ver­sace bracelet from man­ager Ivan Savov with the in­ten­tion of keep­ing it un­til he was paid. Kre­j­cirhad been at the of­fice at the time and warned Issa not to in­volve his busi­ness in a per­sonal loan. Clearly wary, Issa re­turned the bracelet. A few days later, Issa was in another meet­ing with Kre­j­cir.

Grig­orov said Kre­j­cir told Issa the R500 000 was “small change”, and that is was un­nec­es­sary to pay it back. By July 24, 2013, it seemed Issa was in­sulted. As Kre­j­cir was walk­ing through the Money Point park­ing lot, an au­to­mated ma­chine gun hid­den be­hind the li­cense plate of a Red Polo Cross let off a spray of bul­lets, nar­rowly miss­ing the Czech.

“(Kre­j­cir) told me that he is go­ing to use all of his con­nec­tions to get to the bot­tom of who tried to kill him,” said Grig­orov. He had ap­par­ently used his con­nec­tions at the Ger­mis­ton Or­gan­ised Crime Unit, a Colonel Fran­cois Steyn, who later was proven to have taken a loan from Kre­j­cir to track down who had com­mis­sioned the as­sas­si­na­tion de­vice. All signs pointed to Issa.

Mokoena was al­legedly tasked with killing Issa, but failed. Grig­orov said another plan in­volved Kre­j­cir’s then­barely adult son De­nis and his girl­friend Mar­lene Navar, who were asked to lure Issa to a club in Sand­ton for a hit. But Kre­j­cir was told the po­lice pres­ence in the area was too high.

On the morn­ing of Oc­to­ber 12, Grig­orov said he got a call from Savov say­ing Issa had been killed after a part – shot dead just a few streets away from Money Point. When Grig­orov said when he called Kre­j­cir the fol­low­ing morn­ing about this, all Kre­j­cir said was: “Okay. You must get ready and come open the shop.”

There, Miya al­legedly bragged about how he, Memela and Ma­funda had trailed Issa after he had left the party, open­ing fire on his Audi Q7 us­ing his own stolen AK-47 and an R5 ri­fle.

The above ar­ti­cle was com­piled us­ing months of tes­ti­mony at Kre­j­cir’s mur­der trial, in be­tween dozens of post­pone­ments and court ap­pli­ca­tions. The events as de­scribed are from Grig­orov’s per­spec­tive.

PIC­TURE: CHRIS COLLINGRIDGE

Radovan Kre­j­cir in the high court in Jo­han­nes­burg.

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