hitman
Mitnik's life was however spared after he agreed to pay the associate $125,000 to cancel his murderGeorge Frey/Reuters

A New York-based businessman has claimed that he is lucky to be alive after he managed to buy-off a hitman allegedly hired by his father-in-law to eliminate him. Oleg Mitnik reportedly paid $25,000 (£17,550) more than what his father-in-law, Anatoly Potik, had offered the hitman.

"I'm happy I stay alive," Mitnik, who runs TRT International, a freight-shipping company in Newark, New Jersey, told The New York Post outside the Manhattan Supreme Court on 29 January. Mitnik and his ex-wife Ronit Potik Mitnik are battling for custody of their teenage children and a $20m divorce settlement. The couple divorced three years ago.

Mitnik hinted that besides his father-in-law others might also be implicated in the alleged murder plot. "The FBI told me not to say anything. There are more charges coming,'' Mitnik was quoted as saying.

According to court documents, Mitnik was informed a year ago by one of his former father-in-law's associates that Potik had paid a hitman $100,000 to kill him. Mitnik's life was spared after he agreed to pay the associate $125,000 to cancel the hit. Mitnik paid a $50,000 cheque as advance and promised to pay the rest later.

On receiving this information, Mitnik contacted the FBI and a week later, the hitman, Boris Nayfeld and his associate, Boris Kotlyarsky were busted on extortion charges. They reportedly accepted that they had received $50,000 each from Mitnik and Potik.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Ronit told her former husband on 20 January that she "would entertain a proposed settlement", if he "would tell law enforcement he had made things up". Mitnik has alleged that Potik hired the hitman after he learnt that his daughter was being removed as a beneficiary from his multi-million dollar insurance policy.