MUR­DER SUS­PECT MEDICH’S EX- WIFE HAS LIFE OF RICHES A chauf­feur- driven pooch and a salmon pink apart­ment on the French Riviera

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - ELLEN WHINNETT

THE for­mer wife of Syd­ney prop­erty ty­coon and mur­der ac­cused Ron Medich is liv­ing a glam­orous life on the French Riviera where she plays ten­nis, in­dulges in lux­ury beauty treat­ments, and sends her dog on 1200km round trip chauf­feur-driven vis­its to her for­mer lover.

Odetta Medich, who goes by the name Odetta Ch­touikite, has ex­changed Har­bour­side Syd­ney for a clas­sic salmon pink apart­ment in the ritzy town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the shores of the Mediter­ranean.

While Ron Medich is cry­ing poor and fac­ing a new trial, neigh­bours re­vealed Ms Ch­touikite spent “a for­tune” on a six-month-long ren­o­va­tion of her 270sqm apart­ment which had ev­ery room sound­proofed and clad in black lac­quer.

Her neigh­bours on the main street of Beaulieu-sur-Mer have told how Ms Ch­touikite, a stun­ning 49year-old, browses the shops for home­wares, plants for the gar­den and ex­pen­sive choco­lates, and took a hand­some Ital­ian lover who owned a pri­vate is­land off the coast of Italy.

He gave her the prized Braque Fran­cais dog, a rare and ex­pen­sive breed, as a gift, but they even­tu­ally split up.

Ms Ch­touikite now shares cus­tody of the dog with her for­mer lover, her neigh­bours re­vealed.

She has her chauf­feur drive the pet in her Mercedes the 600km to his pri­vate is­land home so the dog can be with him.

“He just came from time to time, he would come for a week­end,’’ a neigh­bour said of her for­mer beau.

“I know he spoiled her. I know he was very rich. I know he had an is­land that be­longed to him, he lived on the is­land. She sends the chauf­feur to get the dog from the is­land in Italy.’’

Neigh­bours said Ms Ch­touikite does not work, but has a house­keeper and oc­ca­sion­ally a per­sonal as­sis­tant.

Her new life has been built far away from Aus­tralia and her ex-hus­band, who is on bail await­ing a re­trial on al­le­ga­tions he so­licited the mur­der of his for­mer busi­ness part­ner Michael McGurk. Ron Medich, worth an es­ti­mated $73 mil­lion in 2010, de­nies the charges.

Medich told The NSW Supreme Court he was out of money, earned no in­come, was “ap­proach­ing” $1 mil­lion in debt and that he was locked in a court as­sets bat­tle with Ms Ch­touikite who “won’t give me a red cent”.

The court case to de­cide how the Medich as­sets will be carved up af­ter the cou­ple split is log­jammed by a se­ries of other cases. It is un­der­stood the mat­ter will re­turn to court in Au­gust where Mr Medich will at­tempt to have money re­leased to pay for the sec­ond run of his mur­der trial, which he is set to fight in the NSW Supreme Court.

Ap­proached in Syd­ney yes­ter­day, Mr Medich said: “I’d tell you some­thing if I could. I never knew there was a dog.”

Ms Ch­touikite re­fused to com­ment when ap­proached to de­scribe her new life as she left a Beaulieu-surMer beauty salon af­ter a man­i­cure.

She was also spot­ted head­ing home from an early morn­ing game of ten­nis but again re­fused to speak and com­plained of ha­rass­ment.

Beaulieu-sur-Mer, mean­ing “beau­ti­ful place’’ in French, is a glam­orous vil­lage on the Cote d’Azur be­tween Monaco and Nice, which at­tracts A-list celebri­ties and Rus­sian oli­garchs, and whose streets are lined with lux­ury cars by Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Fer­rari. It was the in­spi­ra­tion for a fic­tional town in the 1988 hit movie Dirty Rot­ten Scoundrels, fea­tur­ing Steve Martin and Michael Caine, and many scenes were filmed here.

While Ms Ch­touikite first bought the apart­ment with her then-hus­band Mr Medich in 2008, she ap­pears to have moved there full­time some years ago. Her now-adult sons do not live with her.

A Sun­day Tele­graph in­ves­ti­ga­tion has re­vealed the Lithua­nian-born Ms Ch­touikite and the Croa­t­ian-born Ron­ald Ed­ward Medich in July 2008 es­tab­lished a French le­gal en­tity known as a So­ciété Civile Im­mo­bil­ière (SCI).

SCIs are com­monly used by for­eign­ers to buy prop­erty in France be­cause they are tax-ef­fi­cient, make it eas­ier to buy prop­er­ties in dual names, and help avoid prob­lems down the track un­der French in­her­i­tance tax laws. They are also used to pro­tect fam­ily homes from busi­ness cred­i­tors.

The doc­u­ments ob­tained from pub­lic records show the pair are equal part­ners in the com­pany, with 500 shares each, worth €500 each, although Ms Ch­touikite is the main di­rec­tor.

SCI Royal, the name of their en­tity, seems to be used en­tirely for the pur­chase of the prop­erty which is in a Belle Époque build­ing. It was so lav­ishly re-dec­o­rated in the style of a New York loft by Ms Ch­touikite in 2010 that it landed on the front cover of the World of In­te­ri­ors mag­a­zine.

The ren­o­va­tion of the 270sqm apart­ment was han­dled by an Ital­ian com­pany and ran for six months.

“She spent a for­tune re-do­ing the apart­ment,’’ the neigh­bour said.

“She had ev­ery room sound­proofed. It’s all in black lac­quer. It’s like a hearse. It was an enor­mous amount of work.’’

A price for the apart­ment is not known, but it would be worth sev­eral mil­lions of eu­ros, even be­fore the multi-mil­lion ren­o­va­tion.

The es­tranged Medichs sold their water­front man­sion in Syd­ney’s Point Piper in 2014 for $37 mil­lion.

But for all her ap­par­ent wealth, Ms Ch­touikite keeps a low pro­file around the French town.

She has sev­eral so­cial me­dia ac­counts across Twit­ter, Face­book and In­sta­gram, all set to pri­vate, un­der var­i­ous names in­clud­ing Odeta Rose and Odeta Suikys Rose.

She fre­quents the cheer­ful neigh­bour­hood Ital­ian place near her apart­ment, the Res­tau­rant Les Vents D’Anges, with male and fe­male friends, in­clud­ing a man aged in his 30s no­ticed by staff as be­ing mus­cled.

A jury was last month dis­charged af­ter be­ing un­able to reach a ver­dict on charges her for­mer hus­band so­licited the mur­der of Michael McGurk, his for­mer busi­ness as­so­ciate with whom he was mired in le­gal dis­putes re­lat­ing to mil­lions of dol­lars in prop­erty deals.

Dur­ing the trial, it was re­vealed Mr Medich had, for sev­eral months in 2010, been pay­ing to have his then-wife spied upon, when their mar­riage was go­ing through diffi- cul­ties. This in­cluded Mr Medich ask­ing his for­mer friend and close as­so­ciate For­tu­nato “Lucky’’ Gat­tal­lari to “find some­thing’’ out about his then-wife, who was a so­cialite and pa­tron of the arts scene in Syd­ney.

She is thought to have a new love in­ter­est, de­scribed as a man with “rust-coloured hair’’ but de­tails on him are scarce.

“She is very quiet,’’ the neigh­bour said. The neigh­bour said Ms Ch­touikite had “aubiane’’ — a French word that roughly trans­lates as a wind­fall or op­por­tu­nity.

“She mar­ried a rich man.’’

The town of Beaulieu-Sur-Mer on the French Riviera where Odetta Ch­touikite, the es­tranged wife of Ron Medich, lives in a multi-mil­lion apart­ment (be­low).

How we re­ported the story of Ron Medich claim­ing poverty.

Odetta keeps in shape, and (right) a Braque Fran­cais dog.

Ron Medich and d Od Odet­tatt pic­tured in hap­pier times

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