Karel Sroubek speaks out on immigration controversy

Karel Sroubek
Photo credit: Supplied

Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek has spoken out for the first time about controversy surrounding his residency status.

Sroubek came to New Zealand in 2003 on a false passport, and built a career as a kickboxer. But he also developed connections with the underworld, which ultimately ended in his jailing in 2015 for importing MDMA.

The case hit headlines when it was reported Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway cancelled Sroubek's automatic deportation order, which would have seen him sent back to the Czech Republic once his prison term was up.

Mr Galloway has refused to explain why, citing privacy and legal reasons. But he now says new information has come to light, and it contradicts what officials had presented to him before, so the case is back under review.

In the statement obtained by Newshub, Sroubek claims reports of his exploits in New Zealand have been unbalanced.

"In 2010 I faced charges. I was properly acquitted at trial, as were all of the people charged. Comments made about that case in the media are not balanced and in particular do not reflect that the key prosecution witness' evidence was discredited," he said. 

"The National deputy leader [Paula Bennett] by her questions in Parliament has implied that I may have had something to so with an alleged burglary of a property I have an interest in. The allegation I was involved in that burglary is completely without foundation."

Ms Bennett implied that Sroubek was involved in the burglary of a $2.3 million property during Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday.

"Will new information being looked at in the Karel Sroubek case include the burglary of his estranged wife's house just days after Sroubek learnt it had gone on the market?" she asked Mr Galloway.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said the investigation would look at all relevant information and National was looking for "cheap political points".

Sroubek said he would not be commenting further until an Immigration New Zealand investigation into Mr Galloway's decision to grant him residency has finished.

Read Sroubek's full statement here:

Following the Minister of Immigration recently cancelling my liability for deportation there have been numerous reports and statements about me made to and reported in the media.

Much of what has been said about me and my circumstances does not present the true picture.

In 2010 I faced charges. I was properly acquitted at trial, as were all of the other people charged. Comments made about that case in the media are not balanced, and in particular do not reflect that the key prosecution witness' evidence was discredited.

The National Deputy leader by her questions in Parliament has implied I may have had something to with an alleged burglary of a property I have an interest in. The allegation I was involved in that burglary is completely without foundation. I was not involved in the burglary.

Until New Zealand Immigration reports backs to the Minister and I have had the opportunity to respond to him on any issue he may wish to raise I will be making no further comment or statement.

Newshub.