Last updateMar, 27 Jan 2015 11am

Heavy security as underworld kingpin makes brief court appearance

Cape Town, South Africa - George Louca, who is accused of killing strip club owner Lolly Jackson in an underworld murder that sent ripples across South Africa, appeared under heavy police guard in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

He was last week extradited back to the country from Cyprus after several years on the run.

Journalists and members of the public were ordered to leave the court before Louca's brief appearance for the police to perform a security sweep.

Louca is regarded as a big fish in South Africa’s underworld and police believe he is a vital key to unlocking the workings of South Africa’s criminal underworld.

Apart from his relationship with Jackson, he is believed to have information on the possible involvement of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, who is in police custody in Johannesburg and is allegedly linked to a number of high-profile murders.

These include the killing of German super car dealer Uwe Gemballa in 2010 shortly after arriving in Johannesburg.

He was allegedly involved in a money-smuggling scheme linked to both Jackson and Krejcir.

Louca, who is facing charges of murder, money laundering and being in possession of stolen goods, was not asked to plead and he was remanded in custody until his next appearance on 7 March.

Louca fled to his hometown in Limassol, Cyprus, shortly after Jackson's murder at a house in Johannesburg in May 2010.

He had allegedly called the police to confess to the crime, hours after Jackson’s bullet-riddled body was discovered.

Jackson, who made millions of dollars in South Africa's sleezy underworld, was shot 16 times.

In March 2012, Louca was arrested by the local police in Cyprus, after being on the run for two years, and the extradition process to bring him back to South Africa began thereafter.

He made several attempts to evade extradition but he failed when he lost his final appeal last year in the Cypriot Supreme Court.

Pana 18/02/2014