Karel Sroubek: Who is he?

Convicted drug smuggler Karel Sroubek could face an extradition process from New Zealand, but who is he, and why has there been such a controversy surrounding his case?

Sroubek, from the Czech Republic, entered New Zealand in 2003 under a false passport and gained residency in the name of Jan Antolik in 2008. This was granted under the sports talent category as he was the world kick-boxing champion at the time.

Last month Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway granted Sroubek residency under his real name after what he said was careful consideration of all the information available at the time.

As well as being a world champion kick-boxer, Sroubek has a criminal history both in New Zealand and in the Czech Republic.

In 2009 Sroubek faced charges of kidnapping and aggravated robbery for which he was acquitted.

In 2011 he was found guilty of supplying false information to the Immigration, and of having a false passport. Also that year, he was convicted with being a party to the manufacture of a Class C controlled drug. The latter conviction was quashed on appeal.

In 2016, Sroubek was jailed for five years and nine months for importing 4.9kg of the drug MDMA, with a street value of $375,000.

A parole decision about that sentence said he came to New Zealand after he had been involved in a problem with Czech police, when a man was shot and killed. And it said he was at the time “associating with criminal elements in the Czech Republic”.

An Interpol listing online said he was wanted in the Czech Republic for disorderly conduct, damaging of another’s property, and attacking a law enforcement officer.

Czech Republic’s Justice Ministry said Sroubek was sentenced to four years and six months in prison in the Czech Republic. He is also being sought for further criminal charges.

He was associated with New Zealand’s Hell’s Angels and had been charged with some gang members for offences, but they were all acquitted at trial.

A letter written by Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway to Mr Sroubek outlined the conditions he must abide by to stay in New Zealand.

The minister wrote that failing to meet these conditions, Sroubek would become liable for deportation and his case would then need to be considered again.

The conditions were:

Mr Lees-Galloway wrote that this does not prevent Sroubek from being liable for deportation on other grounds.

“This is a very serious matter and I do not condone your behaviour. I have given you one final chance to remain in New Zealand and this should serve as a clear warning to you,” he wrote.

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