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   Feb 13

Ron Medich trial: Witness Lucky Gattellari denies he was the murder mastermind

Ron Medich has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Michael McGurk. Photo: Peter Rae Lucky Gattellari is the key Crown witness against Ron Medich. Photo: Daniel Munoz
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Crown witness Fortunato “Lucky” Gattellari has denied he alone ordered a murder after stealing millions from Ron Medich, the property developer now on trial as an alleged mastermind of the shooting.

Mr Medich, 68, has pleaded not guilty to ordering the contract killing of Michael McGurk, 45, a former business partner gunned down in the driveway of his Sydney home in 2009.

Gattellari, 66, a former boxer turned business partner of Mr Medich, has pleaded guilty to arranging the murder and became the Crown’s principal witness in exchange for a much shorter prison sentence.

After seven days of cross-exmamination, Mr Medich’s barrister, Winston Terracini, SC, put it to Gattellari that he paid for the murder on his own.

“You were the one who organised the murder and nobody else,” he said.

“No, that’s not correct,” Gattellari replied.

The murder victim had embroiled Mr Medich in a series of costly lawsuits in 2008 and 2009 before he was shot in the back of the head outside his Cremorne home on September 3, 2009.

But the defence case suggested Mr Medich had been robbed by Gattellari, who denied he “milked him for years”.

Mr Terracini spent several days asking about large sums of money described by Gattellari as undocumented, interest-free loans from Mr Medich that had no repayment term.

On Tuesday morning, the court heard Mr McGurk had made comments at a lunch about Gattellari’s management of companies that relied on millions of dollars of Mr Medich’s financial backing.

“You were very, very concerned that monies you had stolen from Mr Medich would be uncovered weren’t you?” Mr Terracini said.

Gattellari denied it. He rejected suggestions he and his physically imposing driver Senad Kaminic turned up to Mr McGurk’s office to intimidate him into silence.

“I’ve never threatened anybody,” he said. “Mr Kaminic has never threatened anybody on my behalf.”

Gattellari said he had simply told Mr McGurk that he should mind his own business.

In other evidence, Gattellari was asked about the $600,000 Mr Medich allegedly gave him to arrange the murder of Mr McGurk and the subsequent intimidation of his widow, Kimberley McGurk.

Gattellari said he had transferred around $450,000 of that money to Mr Kaminic while the remaining $150,000 was fed back into company holdings to be used for other jobs Mr Medich wanted done.

He has told the jury he was handed Cryovac bags of cash by Mr Medich at the Medich home on two separate occasions while in the presence of Mr Kaminic.

Asked how certain he was that Mr Kaminic was in fact present, he said: “I think I’m pretty definite he was there.”

After 11 days of evidence from Gattellari, the trial was set to hear from Mr Kaminic, a former Bosnian solider, on Wednesday.

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