Czech drug-smuggler Karel Sroubek has been granted parole, with the board expected to release the full details of its decision tomorrow.
Sroubek - aka Jan Antolik - will be freed in September.
He was serving a term of five years and nine months for smuggling drugs into New Zealand - a sentence which was due to finish in early 2022.
Sroubek first came to New Zealand in 2003 on a false passport in the name of Jan Antolik.
He was found guilty in 2011 of lying to immigration officials but was discharged without conviction by the trial judge, who believed his evidence.
The representative kickboxer had claimed he had to flee his homeland in fear of corrupt officials after he witnessed a murder.
On hearing the evidence, Judge Wade was convinced that he would still be in danger from corrupt Czech authorities and the man he helped convict if he were deported back.
"I am satisfied that your initial false applications were as a result of you doing the right thing, not the wrong thing," Judge Wade said in sentencing Sroubek in 2012.
"Furthermore, had you been frank with the authorities when you first came here, it seems plain that you would have been granted a work permit and, ultimately, residence in any event, on your own merits."
Sroubek used his second chance to smuggle 5kg of MDMA, a Class-B drug, into New Zealand from the Czech Republic.
The drugs had a street value of about $375,000.
Sroubek appealed against this conviction but in December 2017 that was dismissed.
The conviction meant he was automatically liable for deportation.
Immigration officials told then Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway there were two matters for which Sroubek could be deported: the conviction for importing MDMA, and the use of a false identity to come to New Zealand.
Sroubek's fear of returning home seemed to be behind Lees-Galloway's controversial decision to cancel his deportation liability.
The decision quickly became a political firestorm.
Lees-Galloway revisited the case after it emerged that Sroubek may have travelled back home, and following reports that his estranged wife no longer supported his residency bid.
During the investigation of the case and the confirmation of convictions
in the Czech Republic, the minister found Sroubek liable for deportation on the basis that he was an excluded person.
An excluded person is someone convicted and sentenced to jail for at least a year in the 10 years before arriving in New Zealand.
It was therefore deemed he was granted residence as a result of administrative error.
A review conducted by Michael Heron QC noted that the grounds to deport Sroubek from the beginning were "sufficiently powerful" and Lees-Galloway's initial refusal to do so was "unexpected".
Heron made several recommendations including that Immigration NZ should be able to make inquiries into deportation cases if the minister asked them to.
• 2003: Karel Sroubek flees Czech Republic as witness to a murder. Enters New Zealand with false passport in name of Jan Antolik.
• 2008: Gains residency under the name Jan Antolik and represents his new country as a kickboxer.
• 2009: True identity discovered when Czech police contact their counterparts in NZ.
• 2010: Arrested with two Hells Angels gang members on aggravated robbery and blackmail charges. Acquitted on all charges.
• 2011: Jury finds him guilty of using false passport and giving false details to Immigration officials. Arrested soon after as part of Operation Ark, a covert investigation into Ecstasy-like pills.
• 2012: Judge discharges him without conviction on false identity charges so Antolik is not automatically deported.
• 2014: Convicted of manufacturing Class-C drug from Operation Ark arrest. Conviction overturned but Crown abandons second trial. A few months later, arrested importing 5kg of MDMA, a Class-B controlled drug, used in Ecstasy.
• 2016: Convicted of importing MDMA and jailed for five years and nine months, but identity kept secret by sentencing judge.
• 2017: Name suppression lifted.
• 2018, Sept 17: Parole Board declines early release.
• 2018, Sept 19: Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway cancels Sroubek's deportation, grants resident visa in his real name with conditions.
• 2018, Nov 1: Lees-Galloway says he did not know of court documents showing Sroubek had returned to Europe in 2009. Orders Immigration NZ to investigate.
• 2018, Nov 8: Pressure intensifies on Lees-Galloway after he concedes he didn't read the entire Sroubek case file and made his decision in under an hour. National calls for his resignation.
• 2018, Nov 28: Lees-Galloway issues a new deportation liability notice to Sroubek, meaning he will be deported after finishing his jail term. Sroubek is appealing the decision. Lees-Galloway orders review into INZ processes.
• 2018, Dec 23: Lees-Galloway says he would have deported Sroubek from the outset if he had known Sroubek had returned to the Czech Republic in 2009. Says he asked INZ officials, but was told the information could not be ascertained. INZ says its team does not have an investigatory role.
• 2019, October 9: Review into INZ processes makes five recommendations, including that INZ should have inquiry powers if the minister has unanswered questions.