The row over whether a city banker’s lover conned him out of a chunk of his £18 million estate has escalated, with the late financier’s brother accusing the woman of being a ‘call girl’.
Nightclub owner Magdalena Zalinska, 44, is being sued by Edi Truell over claims she used ‘undue influence’ to obtain £4 million from his brother Danny ahead of his death in 2019.
Danny Truell, a former boss of the Wellcome Trust, had been in a relationship with Miss Zalinska and over seven years paid her his interest on the flat where she lived.
The interest payments are at the centre of the High Court case, alongside £2 million in cash and £1.3 million from Mr Truell’s bank account that his brother claims she also took, the Daily Mail reported.
Lawyers for Edi Truell and former solicitor John Rayner Hatchard – the executors of Mr Truell’s estate – say the pair’s relationship was like a ‘call girl’ and her client.
They argued Miss Zalinska used her influence over him to get him to hand over cash and property.
But she denies the allegations, saying she had a ‘romantic and loving relationship’ with Mr Truell, who died aged 55 of a neurological condition, for 14 years.
Amit Karia, who is representing her, pointed to the banker’s will, in which she is described as a ‘dependent and partner’.
But Edward Hicks, the barrister for the executors, told judge Mr Justice Michael Green that Mr Truell kept his family life and his life with Miss Zalinska ‘very separate’.
He asked: ‘Is this a lady who is presenting a false picture of her relationship to Danny?
‘We have evidence that she was in relationships with other people.’
He also said several of the transactions made by Mr Truell before his death need to be explained.
They include transfers worth £1.34 million paid between 2013 and 2018 to Magfos Ltd, a company through which she operated her struggling London nightclub Southwark Rooms, which he claims were tainted by the nature of their relationship.
Mr Hicks said: ‘Our case on Magfos is that this really was a front through which money was extracted from Danny.’
Mr Karia said Miss Zalinska had told him the money transferred to her was used for the upkeep of the flat, to fund renovation projects in Poland and for investments.
Prior to becoming a boss at the Wellcome Trust, Mr Truell was a contemporary of future prime minister Boris Johnson at Balliol College in Oxford, and debated with him frequently.
He went on to run Goldman Sachs’ asset management arm, before taking on the role of chief investment officer at the trust, the UK’s largest charity, in 2005.
He divorced his wife of 16 years, Naomi, in 2011, and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a year later.
The full trial of the £4 million claim against Miss Zalinska is expected to go ahead next year.
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