The murder of Michael McGurk
The Sydney man shot dead in front of his young son on Thursday had a tape recording capable of bringing down the NSW government, an entrepreneur has claimed.
Sydney business identity Jim Byrnes told ABC radio that Michael McGurk, who was shot outside his house in Cremorne on Sydney’s north shore, feared his life was in danger because of the tape.
“It’s a pretty well established fact that there was supposed to be a tape recording of a lengthy conversation that he had with a person who he is currently in dispute with and that tape recording related to supposed financial payments to very senior politicians within the state,” Sydney entrepreneur Jim Byrnes told ABC radio.
“Had that tape seen the light of day you might be seeing a chain (effect). You might be seeing two or three politicians no longer being politicians.”
Mr McGurk was killed by a single shot to the head at about 6.30pm (AEST) on Thursday.
The shot left Mr McGurk, 45, on his back beside his Mercedes in a pool of blood, his nine-year-old son the only witness to the killing, described by police as a “callous” and “targeted” attack.
Mr McGurk’s murder came the day before the father-of-four had matters listed for mention in the NSW Supreme Court involving a property dispute, but police are yet to make any link between the death and impending legal proceedings.
“The deceased is very well known to the police and there is quite a lot of inquiries that have already been established that we are pursuing with some vigour,” homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford told reporters on Friday.
The senior officer would not comment on reports Mr McGurk had gone to police in recent weeks to report concerns for his safety.
“This gentleman did have a lot of associates that are also known to us and those inquiries are well and truly under way,” Supt Beresford said.
Private investigator Warren Mallard, employed by Mr McGurk, said he worked on a number of “bizarre” cases for the property developer, often dealing with people who did not play “by the rules”.
“I would imagine … that there are a lot of people that may have had what they thought was reasons to do him in because of the nature of the work and the business that he was involved in and I’d imagine it’s a bit of a needle in a haystack in relation to the cast of suspects,” Mr Mallard told Macquarie Radio Network.
Following preliminary talks with Mr McGurk’s son, police believe the gunman was male, and acted alone, but there is no description of the shooter, how he left the scene, or how far away he was when he fired the fatal shot.
“It appears very targeted,” Supt Beresford said of the shooting.
“It is a callous crime. It is a tragedy for the family obviously and … the family would be feeling a great deal of grief at the moment.”
Mr McGurk’s solicitor, who had been representing him in a property dispute, said his client was a “terrific bloke”.
Speaking outside the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Mark Johnson described Mr McGurk as a good man and said he had liked him very much.
“He was a charismatic, intelligent, generous bloke,” he said, adding that the murder was “awful, unspeakable”.
Neighbours have described the McGurk family as friendly, with Mr McGurk’s mother-in-law, Noreen McDonald, saying her nine-year-old grandson ran to his mother Kimberly for help after the shooting.
“The little boy came running in screaming, saying ‘Mummy, mummy, mummy, quickly, daddy’,” Ms McDonald told reporters at the scene.
“So she raced out. He was bleeding all over the place and passed away.”
Police are appealing for public assistance to help find Mr McGurk’s killer.
Lawsuit against sultan rejected
A BREACH of contract case over a $10 million deal to sell a tiny, rare 400-year-old manuscript copy of the Koran to the Sultan of Brunei could threaten the sultan’s appearance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum.
A group of investors who claim the world’s richest man reneged on an agreement to buy the “old, rare and beautiful” manuscript copy as a gift for his third wife had their bid to have the case heard in Sydney dismissed by a Supreme Court judge yesterday.
Afterwards, Michael McGurk, a director of Garsec Pty Ltd representing the investors who bought the gold-lined relic in Russia from a KGB agent, claimed the “magnanimous” head of state of the tiny nation knew some of the sale proceeds were going to Islamic charities in Australia, which have suffered as a result.
Asked if he would consider making representations to the sultan personally during the APEC summit, Mr McGurk said he would need legal advice first, but “I understand he might not be coming for APEC”.
In a case that has already cost more than $500,000, Garsec had wanted the Supreme Court of NSW to either order damages for breach of contract or to enforce an oral contract it claims was made between its agent, Sunny Chai, in Brunei, and the sultan’s private secretary, Pehin Nawawi. Mr Nawawi, who has denied he had express or implied authority to make and receive communications on behalf of the sultan, is Mr Chai’s godfather.
About May 30, 2005, Mr Chai rang Mr McGurk in Sydney to tell him that his offer to sell the manuscript for no less than $US8 million ($9.7 million) had been accepted.
Mr McGurk’s telephone conversation in Sydney, where he lives, underpinned the Garsec claim that the contract was made in NSW, where the manuscript is also kept.
However, it was later established that Mr McGurk had not been in Sydney during an earlier call in April 2005 when he had agreed on the price.
The call to Mr McGurk the following month was a communication of a prior acceptance of the deal, not a contract-making communication, Justice Robert McDougall found yesterday.
Despite the constitution of Brunei Darussalam containing a declaration of the sultan’s infallibility, the judge found the contract had been concluded in Brunei.
Permanently staying the proceedings, the judge ruled that the law of the sultanate applied and a court in Brunei, not the Supreme Court of NSW, was the proper forum.
“Garsec chose to contract with the Sultan of Brunei,” Justice McDougall said in his judgment. “It must take him as it finds him: including … with the benefit of sovereign immunity.”
Outside the court Mr McGurk described the decision as a “travesty” for Australian justice. Islamic charities, including a school in Bankstown that had closed due to lack of funds, had lost more than $1 million promised to them as part of the sale. “We are disappointed … but the matter is not going to go away.” The sultan has been invited to reconsider his offer. Meanwhile, the tiny manuscript remains locked in a safety deposit box.
Boss charged with firebombing posh Point Piper mansion
COMPANY director Michael McGurk is facing arson and assault charges over the firebombing late last year of businessman Adam Tilley’s Point Piper home.
The 44 year old from Mosman, who appeared briefly in the Waverley local court yesterday told The Daily Telegraph through his lawyer that the allegations are false.
“Mr McGurk is a respected businessman, the allegations are unfounded and they will be defended to the death,” lawyer Patrick Conaghan said.
The arson charge follows a police investigation into the dawn raid on Mr Tilley’s home and a spate of assaults and threats allegedly linked to Mr McGurk.
In addition to the arson charge he is also charged with assault occasioning bodily harm in relation to an attack on property valuer Stuart Rowan.
Mr Rowan needed 12 stitches in his head after being hit by an unidentified assailant with a retractable metal bar.
It is alleged Mr Rowan was asked to provide a valuation on a property near Bathurst and refused.
Mr Tilley’s home was hit by at least two molotov cocktails at 5am on November 20 hurled by persons unknown.
A well known developer, Adam Tilley is the older brother of Ben Tilley, himself a former close friend and poker partner of the late billionaire and media baron, Kerry Packer.
The Daily Telegraph has learned the attacks coincide with a dispute which began after Mr Tilley and millionaire property developer Ron Medich agreed to develop a residential site in Point Piper.
Sources familiar with the dispute said Mr Medich loaned Mr Tilley almost $10 million.
As part of the agreement, if the development proceeded to sale, Mr Medich could earn as much as $20 million on his investment.
However as the property market toppled Mr Medich assigned the debt to Mr McGurk.
The link between Mr Medich and Mr McGurk is not clear but it is not the first time Mr Medich has passed a financial entitlement to Mr McGurk.
In 2007 he assigned 115.5 million options over shares in low end lender Amazing Home Loans to Mr McGurk for $1.
Mr McGurk and Mr Medich are also said to be associated through Bentley Smythe, a property development firm believed to be funded by Mr Medich.
Once in control of the Tilley debt, Mr McGurk allegedly demanded Mr Tilley repay the maximum $20 million return.
When this was refused, he commenced legal action and the matter is currently being disputed in the NSW Supreme Court
Meanwhile, Mr McGurk is on bail subject to a $100,000 surety and reporting conditions which include attending Mosman police station three times a week.
The arson and assault charges have been referred to the Downing Centre District Court where it will return on March 17.
Judge dismisses case after Michael McGurk murdered in Sydney
The solicitor for a property developer shot dead in a Sydney street on Thursday night has described his client as a “terrific bloke”.
Speaking outside the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Mark Johnson described Michael Loch McGurk as a “good man” and said he had liked him very much.
“He was a charismatic, intelligent, generous bloke,” he said, adding that the murder was “awful, unspeakable” especially for Mr McGurk’s family.
The 46-year-old property developer was shot dead on Thursday evening in front of his nine-year-old son as they arrived at their home in Cranbrook Avenue in the harbourside suburb of Cremorne.
A case brought by Linkshore Pty Ltd and others against McGurk was listed in the NSW Supreme Court for Friday.
Mr Johnson told Justice David Hammerschlag that he had been acting for Mr McGurk but that his client had been murdered on Thursday evening.
The court case related to caveats Mr McGurk had placed over properties owned by brothers Ben and Adam Tilley.
No lawyer representing Linkshore and the other plaintiffs appeared in court on Friday.
Mr Johnson told the judge the caveats had already been removed by Mr McGurk.
Justice Hammerschlag dismissed the proceedings without making any order as to costs.
He stayed his order for seven days to enable the absent plaintiffs to make any application to the court.
Mr Johnson undertook to tell them of the judge’s orders.
Media reports have said Mr McGurk was charged with firebombing houses, including one in Point Piper but the charges were dropped two weeks ago.
Mr McGurk, who was known as “lender of last resort” who had a number of enemies, reportedly believed that a hitman was on his trail about a week ago. He is not believed to have sought police protection.
He had been due to appear in the New South Wales Supreme Court today over a property dispute.
Mr McGurk, 46, who had been involved in a long-running property dispute, was shot in the head at point-blank range outside his luxury home on Sydney’s North Shore, just two weeks after serious assault and arson charges against him were dropped.
what happened to having damaging tapes about the nsw government..that news is now dropped and its all about a property dispute..dont forget della bosca resigned just this week from the nsw parliament in a sordid affair as well
and what could the $10million dollar koran he has tucked away somewhere have to do with this?..anything?..nothing?..something?..he was dealing with one of the top 5 richest people on the planet..if not the wealthiest
“bought the gold-lined relic in Russia from a KGB agent” <– HUH
why was he allegedly firebombing buildings and then why were the charges dropped..who are the tilleys?
all of these questions need investigating..i smell a cover up here..i think they will push the property dispute line now and wont pursue the nsw government angle..i hope i am wrong