Convicted Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek has been approved for parole from early September, the Parole Board has confirmed.
Sroubrek appeared before the board yesterday in what was his fifth attempt for parole.
He was sentenced in 2016 to nearly six years in prison for importing almost 5kg of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. He faces deportation on release.
In 2018, an immigration controversy blew up with the then immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway reversing an earlier decision to grant him residence.
Sroubrek is appealing against that decision.
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 kickboxing champion at the time.
As well as being a world champion kickboxer, 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 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.
In 2018 Lees-Galloway granted Sroubek residency under his real name after what he said was careful consideration of all the information available at the time.