Drug smuggler Karel Sroubek returned to Europe, court ruling confirms

by Jane Patterson / 01 November, 2018
Karel Sroubek

The former MMA fighter did return to Europe in 2009. Photo: Carmen Bird Photography

RelatedArticlesModule - related

The Czech drug smuggler granted residency by the Immigration Minister did return to Europe in 2009, court documents show.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has this afternoon ordered an investigation into aspects of the case, not giving details due to 'strong' legal reasons.

The National Party has been questioning the decision of Mr Lees-Galloway to let Karel Sroubek stay as a New Zealand resident, and therefore avoid deportation.

National leader Simon Bridges said Sroubek had argued in his bid to stay in New Zealand that he would be in danger if he returned to the Czech Republic.

The 2009 application was specifically for Sroubek, under the false name of Jan Antolik, to travel to the Czech Republic for business, and was granted. It was confirmed he did return to Europe, although it was not clear if he visited the Czech Republic.

Mr Lees-Galloway said yesterday he was seeking urgent advice in light of the new information, and confirmed a short time ago he had asked Immigration New Zealand to urgently investigate the allegations to determine their veracity.

"As a decision maker, I cannot rely on innuendo or hearsay or speculation, but these allegations certainly are concerning to me."

He declined to go into any detail about the new information "for legal reasons".

In a tense showdown in Parliament this afternoon, Mr Lees-Galloway repeatedly refused to answer questions about the case from the National Party.

National MP Michael Woodhouse asked whether Stroubek or his lawyer expressed any concerns for his safety if he was returned to the Czech republic.

"I am not making any further comment on what information I used to make that decision," Mr Lees-Galloway told MPs.

Mr Woodhouse asked whether the Minister was aware that the Czech national had twice visited the Czech Republic while awaiting trial on kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges.

Mr Lees-Galloway again declined to answer, saying it was "not in the public interest" to do so.

Mr Woodhouse also alleged the parole board had considered Mr Stroubek unsafe to release back into the community just 48 hours before he was granted residency.

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Travel application

Sroubek was jailed two years ago, for more than five years, for importing MDMA.

In 2009 the High Court in Auckland gave Sroubek permission to travel to the Czech Republic, ahead of an impending court case.

The application was for "variation of bail to permit Mr Antolik to travel to the Czech Republic on business".

"He is the owner of two businesses which are involved in trade with parties in the Czech Republic and it is necessary for him to go there from time to time in order to facilitate transactions involving the import of Czech goods into New Zealand."

The judgement also said Sroubek had been granted a similar application earlier in the year, despite the opposition of the police.

"Mr Antolik duly went to Europe and returned in compliance with the conditions of the bail variation."

There were a number of conditions attached: he was given a 20-day window to travel, during which the District Court at Auckland would return his passport to him, to be returned to the High Court once he arrived back in New Zealand.

The court was told the application was opposed, but not "with excessive vigour", by the police lawyer.

"She submits that there is a flight risk, but that it cannot be characterised as high.

"In my view that approach is realistic.

"Mr Antolik is now a permanent resident of this country, living in a long term relationship with a New Zealand citizen; they own a home together. There is a significant equity in it.

"Moreover, Mr Antolik operates substantial businesses here, which involve the importation of goods from the Czech Republic. In other words, there is a great deal to tie him to this jurisdiction.

"Mr Antolik has already demonstrated that he can be trusted to return at the time advised to the Court, because he has already complied with the terms of a similar variation granted earlier in the year as discussed above."

This article was first published on Radio New Zealand.

Latest

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne Carter's rise to the top
107207 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Music

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne…

by Mike White

Shayne Carter’s career has been wild and acclaimed. But his just-released memoir reveals the drama and trauma going on behind the scenes.

Read more
Rare photos of the Straitjacket Fits by Brian Murphy
The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypothermia
107150 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Television

The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypot…

by Diana Wichtel

Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale packs a punch, despite some implausible scenes, writes Diana Wichtel.

Read more
Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not guilty to all charges
107204 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not gu…

by Anneke Smith

The man accused of the Christchurch terror attacks has pleaded not guilty to all the charges laid against him.

Read more
One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidable in NZ Parliament
107183 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Politics

One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidab…

by Bevan Rapson

Despite overdue efforts to improve Parliament's culture, political biffo will always be with us.

Read more
The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on the skids – it's a good thing
107144 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on…

by The Listener

Transport officials’ enthusiasm for a sweeping lowering of speed limits looks set to go the way of the once-proposed ban on cats in dairies.

Read more
Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching the right people?
107185 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching t…

by Phil Pennington

New Zealanders who feel they've done nothing wrong have found themselves under surveillance by the state and say they've been left nervous.

Read more
Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life in WWII-era Germany
107122 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Movies

Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life i…

by James Robins

Epic drama captures an artist navigating the upheavals of Nazi and post-war Germany.

Read more