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Judge unfreezes physician's bank accounts in model slaying case

A lawyer says the accounts could not remain frozen without explanation. His client, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, is linked to the woman's death.

August 14, 2010|By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

A judge ordered authorities this week to unfreeze bank accounts connected to a physician described as a "subject of interest" in the 2008 slaying of an aspiring model in Santa Monica.

Last month, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office requested 60 bank accounts frozen, said Benjamin Gluck, an attorney who represents physician Munir Uwaydah. Two of those accounts belonged to businesses owned by Uwaydah, Gluck said. The district attorney's office has declined to detail the seized assets saying that information is under seal.

Uwaydah's attorney argued that the accounts could not remain frozen without explanation.

"If you haven't charged us with a crime and you say you're not ready to charge anyone with a crime for at least several months, you should not be able to freeze all our money," Gluck said.

Authorities have linked Uwaydah to slain 21-year-old Juliana Redding and Kelly Soo Park, 41, who is accused of strangling the Arizona native in her Santa Monica condo.

Uwaydah employed Park for several years, paying her $10,000 a month and describing her as his "female James Bond," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson. According to records, the Marina del Rey doctor transferred $250,000 to Park three weeks before the killing, and Park's family received an additional five-figure payment days before her June arrest.

Redding's father, a pharmacist, and Uwaydah had planned to start a pharmaceutical business together, according to authorities, but the deal broke down days before his daughter's killing. Jackson has suggested in court that Park was directed to the aspiring model's condo by Uwaydah to send a message. Park has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities suspect Uwaydah has fled the country the day of Park's arrest. Gluck declined to say where his client was, but he denied that the physician had any involvement with Redding's killing.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said prosecutors hoped to keep the accounts frozen and details of the assets under seal, as a matter of "public safety."

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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