A rich divorcee has claimed she was ‘conned’ out of £500,000 by her Romanian toyboy lover, but he insists they were in love and the hefty sum of cash was a gift. Christiane Shellard, 66, said she loaned Cristian Mihalea, 29, the money to help him turn his life around, and instead he blew it on online gambling and fancy watches.
Ms Shellard, from Surrey, says she was a ‘naive fool’ to be duped by Mr Mihalea, who left her ‘completely unfulfilled’ sexually after the pair met at a restaurant in 2016.
But Mr Mihalea says the two were in love and the money was a gift, adding he was heartbroken when the cougar replaced him with a younger model.
Ms Shellard is taking Mr Mihalea to court in attempt to win back the £500,000, and the older woman accused him of treating her like ‘open purse’, she told the Sun.
She said: ‘I was a naive fool but I was smitten. I was recently divorced from my husband of 38 years.
‘I was flattered with a boyfriend 37 years my junior on my arm. I was vulnerable and he turned out to be cold-hearted and opportunistic.’
The pair met and exchanged numbers when Ms Shellard asked Mr Mihalea for a light for her cigarette at Bluebird restaurant in west London in 2016.
Mr Mihalea came round to her home in September and they began seeing each other every other week.
Although a casual relationship, Ms Shellard said the younger man soon began asking for money so she gave him £700 to cover his rent.
He then complained of car troubles, so she gave him a limit of £20,000 to spend on a new car, but says she was never shown any receipts for the second-hand Porsche Panamera he bought.
Mr Mihalea then allegedly said his father was dying of liver cancer and would need a £160,000 transplant, which Ms Shellard paid for.
The final straw, Ms Shellard said, was when Mr Mihalea said they should buy a property he had seen in Brentwood, and she agreed.
Mr Mihalea claimed the money was a gift during their 18-month ‘full, loving and intimate relationship’ and he shouldn’t have to pay it back.
Mihalea’s legal argument did not start well as Judge Nicholas Cooke froze all his assets around the world as Ms Shellard’s lawyers investigate the money trail.