Medich, 62 is the fifth person to be arrested by Strikeforce Narrunga, which has been investigating the professional hit on McGurk outside his Cremorne property last year.
Some earlier arrests last week
Today’s arrest follows lengthy investigations into the death of then 45-year-old Michael McGurk, after he was shot outside his home on Cranbrook Avenue about 6.30pm last September.
Strike Force Narrunga, comprises detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad and Central Metropolitan Region, and was established to investigate the murder.
Today’s operation follows the previous arrest and charging of four men on 13 October 2010 by Strike Force Narrunga detectives.
McGurk’s widow, Kimberley, who has been kept up to date by police during the 13-month investigation, said today’s arrest of Ron Medich along with four previous was “of great comfort.”
“The further arrest in the investigation of Mr McGurk’s murder is of great comfort to Mrs McGurk and her family,” her lawyer, Vivian Evans, said in a statement.
“She again thanks all involved in the investigation.
“There are now several matters before the court and therefore it is not appropriate that any further comment be made at this stage.
`”We again request that you respect our client and her family’s privacy.”
How police claim the Michael McGurk plot unravelled
A SEXY woman and a deadly batch of cocaine was plan A.
But when that became too hard to orchestrate, the man allegedly enlisted to kill businessman Michael McGurk was instructed to follow the father-of-four and his wife to the ski fields and execute him there.
Ultimately, the man who allegedly ordered the hit wanted it sorted – even if it meant a bullet to the head in a suburban street, a police state- ment alleges.
And as McGurk lay dead in the driveway of his Cremorne home, a text message allegedly sent to Lucky Gattellari by an unknown associate of one of his co-accused signalled plan C had worked: “Job’s done”.
For 13 months Sydney thought this was the perfect crime.
But a statement of allegations obtained yesterday by The Daily Telegraph showed the murder plot was far from seamless.It allegedly all started over a round-table discussion at ex-boxer Lucky Gattellari’s tudor-style home at Chipping Norton in March 2009. Haissam Safetli, 45, a father and family man himself, was allegedly offered $250,000 by Gattellari, 60, to have McGurk killed.
There was an extra $50,000 bonus if it was carried out within four weeks.
Senad Kaminic, 42, the driver, assistant and close associate of Gattellari, was allegedly present at the meeting.
In his briefing, Safetli was allegedly told by Gattellari that McGurk was becoming “a headache” for a Sydney businessman and costing him a lot of money.
The statement of allegations will state the motivation for soliciting the murder was a number of significant business conflicts between McGurk, Gattellari and the businessman.
And so Safetli began about three months of “work”, during which he allegedly carried out surveillance of McGurk’s daily routine.
With that information in hand, the police allege that the initial plan suggested to Safetli – by Gattellari and Kaminic – was to make McGurk’s death look like an overdose of bad drugs.
Kaminic suggested Safetli arrange for a “sexy woman” to supply McGurk with spiked cocaine.
But the plan was not watertight, so police allege the trio turned their attention to a McGurk family ski trip to Thredbo in July 2009. Time was ticking, and McGurk was not dead. People were getting edgy.
It’s claimed Safetli told police that Gattellari then pressured him.
So Safetli allegedly enlisted the help of Christopher Estephan to help him carry out McGurk’s killing.
Together, they allegedly travelled to McGurk’s Cranbrook Ave home in a white Toyota Hilux utility on the evening of September 3 and waited in bushes across the street until he arrived home.
It was dusk, but light enough for witnesses to see them. They had to be very careful. When McGurk had parked his Mercedes-Benz sedan on the street beside his home, and his son was out of the path of danger, it is alleged Estephan pulled the trigger on the .22 calibre Norinco rifle and fatally shot McGurk once to the head. Both men deny firing the fatal shot.
Police allege the pair then made their getaway, jumping back into the same white Hilux ute and travelling along Military Rd towards the Harbour Bridge.
Closed circuit television footage obtained by police allegedly recorded a white utility going along the same roads in the minutes after McGurk was shot dead.
It is alleged the two men then headed across the Anzac Bridge to Bicentennial Park at Rozelle Bay, where the weapon was dumped in the water.
About 90 minutes after McGurk was shot dead, Gattellari allegedly received a text message on his mobile phone saying: “Job’s done”, the police statement claims.
Despite the money allegedly earned for the hit – and a membership at an exclusive nightspot arranged by Gattellari – the burden became too much for Safetli. It is alleged he twice attempted to commit suicide, once being admitted to hospital for treatment.
He kept quiet and on Tuesday this week was allegedly offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to take the fall for the whole conspiracy.
The statement also claims that in August this year Gattellari and Kaminic allegedly asked Safetli to approach McGurk’s widow Kimberley and influence her, as executor of his estate, to reach settlement on outstanding civil proceedings.
For this, he was allegedly offered $50,000 if carried out. It wasn’t.
Meanwhile a man will face Waverley Local Court this morning for his role in a $150 million fraud scheme linked to McGurk.
The 57-year-old was arrested by Victorian Police on Tuesday afternoon at his Altona Meadows home.
He faced Melbourne Local Court and was escorted to Sydney by Strike Force Apia detectives yesterday afternoon.
Police charged him with three counts of using a false instrument with intent over an alleged $2.4 million mortgage fraud scheme.
The Victorian man is the 12th person charged by police over their roles in an extensive fraud racket involving the country’s biggest banks.
The three year investigation has unearthed a tangled web of illegal mortgage lending, involving high profile Sydney business identities including McGurk.
More than 260 people have been implicated in the fraud case.