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Insurance Agent Charged With Soliciting Customer's Murder

April 22, 1988|MICHAEL CONNELLY | Times Staff Writer

A Canoga Park insurance salesman has been charged with seeking the murder of a fellow Iranian who earlier this year survived two car-bombing attempts in the San Fernando Valley, authorities said Thursday.

Ismail Shokri, 32, a sales representative with Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., faces one count of solicitation of murder, said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. John C. Spence. Shokri, arrested a week ago, was being held at the downtown County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail, police said.

"An insurance policy was written on the victim by Shokri," Spence said. "Shokri then offered to pay someone to have the victim murdered."

Police identified the victim of the two failed murder attempts as Farhang Goudarzi, 37, of Woodland Hills. An investigation to determine whom Shokri allegedly hired to kill Goudarzi and how much was paid is continuing, Spence said.

Spence said Shokri wrote a $500,000 life insurance policy on Goudarzi in June, 1987, and alleged that he later kept the policy active without Goudarzi's knowledge. Spence said Goudarzi's wife, Tayebeh, was the beneficiary of the policy and is suspected of conspiring with Shokri. But she returned to Iran earlier this year and has not been charged with any crime, he said.

"She left the country, and we can't do anything unless she comes back," Spence said.

Slightly Injured

The first bomb incident occurred Jan. 1. Police said Goudarzi was slightly injured when he tried to start his car and a bomb exploded. The bomb had been placed underneath his vehicle, which was parked in the garage of his apartment building on Canoga Avenue in Woodland Hills, police said.

Two weeks later, Goudarzi found a bomb under a seat in a car he had rented, police said. He had rented the car because of damage the first bomb did to his own car. Bomb squad specialists were called and determined the device in the rental car was too dangerous to remove. It was detonated inside the car, which Goudarzi had parked in a Northridge neighborhood.

Goudarzi, who said he is an investor in diamonds and in the currency market, described Shokri as a one-time friend who last summer sold him a life insurance policy.

"He came all the time for dinner and lunch in my home," Goudarzi said. "Then one day he said: 'I want to sell you an insurance policy.' "

Goudarzi said Shokri wrote and issued him a $500,000 life insurance policy. But after one month, Goudarzi said he told Shokri to cancel the policy because the $505 monthly premium was too high.

"He told me it was canceled, and I thought it was canceled, but I guess it never was," he said.

Goudarzi said he stays in regular telephone contact with his wife in Iran.

"She tells me she is sorry," he said. "She calls me and cries."

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