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.
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
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 an 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.
As Ms Shellard takes Mr Mihalea to court in attempt to win back the £500,000, the older woman accuses him of treating her like ‘open purse
Cristian Mihalea, 29, admitted frittering it away on online gambling, a bad gold deal, a Audemars Piguet watch costing at least £4,000, and a £42,000 GLS Mercedes for his sister
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.
She said: ‘He even snatched the phone out of my hand to transfer the money into his account.’
Ms Shellard didn’t reveal the amount of money she gave him to buy the home but it is thought to be the £500,000, which she is taking Mr Mihalea to court over.
After the money transfer, Mr Mihalea said the home had been sold to another bidder and he disappeared to Eastern Europe for weeks, Ms Shellard said.
She added: ‘I felt such a fool and embarrassed. That is what happens to women my age.
‘I was never in love with him. I liked him a lot but was not stupid enough to think I could have a future with someone so young — I thought it could last three or four years.
‘The guy I was smitten with was a monster. I’ve learned my lesson, I’ve been bitten. If that’s what happens when you date someone, I’d rather stay single.’
The divorcee said £500,000 was to buy a flat in her name where he could live until he could afford a mortgage and another £160,000 was for his father’s medical bills
She also shelled out for a Porsche Panamera, which retails at almost £68,000, and more watches to add to the muscled playboy’s collection
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
But Mr Mihalea insists they were in love and that she had ‘gifted’ him the £500,000 to buy himself a flat.
He said to the Sun: ‘We were a couple in love. I was certainly in love with her. Most of the times we met, we got physical.
‘The age gap didn’t bother me, it seemed normal — she is very well preserved for her age. We went on holiday together.’
He said he was devastated when he learned Ms Shellard had been seeing a young model.
The Romanian, who now runs Vos hair and beauty salon in Fulham, registered in his sister’s name, admitted to blowing all his ex-lover’s cash.
Mr Mihalea now claims his only assets are £7,444 in a Lloyds bank account and a £4,000 Cartier watch.
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.
‘You’re not going to get away from the juggernaut that’s approaching by saying, ‘It’s too late, I have spent all the money’,’ the judge said.