Late banker’s lover found dead amid legal battle over his £18,000,000 fortune

  • london
  • March 17, 2023
  • Comments Off on Late banker’s lover found dead amid legal battle over his £18,000,000 fortune
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A former nightclub owner who was accused of conning her late lover out of a chunk of his £18 million fortune has been found dead.

Magdalena Zalinska, 46, was in a relationship with Danny Truell, who managed billions for major City firms and the Wellcome Trust charity, until his death at the age of 55 in 2019.

Mr Truell, who stepped back from his career after developing motor neurone disease, left her more than £1 million in assets and all his belongings in his will.

But his brother Edi accused Ms Zalinska of using ‘undue influence’ to gain another £3.5 million in cash from him as his condition deteriorated, as well as his stake in a £750,000 flat in Clapham, south London, which he sublet to her.

Ms Zalinska is believed to have been found dead at the flat last Saturday by police responding to concerns about her welfare.

Her death is being treated as unexpected but not suspicious.

The High Court how the 46-year-old Polish national’s mental health ‘spiralled’ after her lover’s death and that she increasingly struggled with alcohol and drug abuse.

She also struggled with the ‘tremendous pressure’ of cross-examinations in which Danny’s brother repeatedly accused her of being his ‘call girl’ despite admitting she was caring from him.

The judge presiding over the case said she was ‘right’ to be ‘offended by any suggestion that she was not in a deep and loving relationship with the deceased, or that she had taken advantage of him’.

Edi Truell, who is also a City financier, and Danny’s former solicitor John Rayner Hatchard started taking her to court in 2020 over transfers they discovered as executors of the vast estate.

They include £1.34 million paid between 2013 and 2018 to a company through which she owned her club, the now-defunct Southwark Rooms near London’s Borough Market.

Some £915,000 cash was transferred directly to her account between 2012 and 2019, while another £1.38 million in spending and withdrawals on Danny’s debit card was allegedly ‘controlled’ by Mr Zalinska.

Edi claimed the spending was ‘suspect’ as his brother lived a ‘frugal lifestyle’, and that it increased drastically as his health deteriorated.

The High Court heard Danny ‘did not drive, have expensive hobbies or go on many holidays’ and lived in a ‘modest and poorly furnished’ two-floor maisonette near Clapham Junction.

Ms Zalinska, who was of Polish origin, had strenuously denied the allegations, insisting she had been in a ‘romantic and loving relationship’ with Mr Truell since 2004.

She claimed they started seeing each other after he separated from his wife Naomi, whom he married in 1995, though they did not get divorced until 2011.

Her accusers accepted there was a sexual relationship but claimed Ms Zalinska was employed as Danny’s carer from his diagnosis in 2012 and that they were not living together.

A High Court judgment in 2021 mentioned no further explanation or evidence for their description of Ms Zalinska as Danny’s ‘call girl’.

It also states they never contested Danny’s will, which described Ms Zalinska as his ‘partner and dependent’ and made her a trustee of a charity to be set up after his death.

She had apologised for partly breaching a freezing order on the assets, claiming her ‘vulnerable’ state made her ‘easily manipulated and exploited’ into handing the debit card to around 10 friends who claimed they were ‘desperate for money’.

She told the court she was attacked and ‘suffered injuries to my face, legs and arms’ after resisting repeated demands for money from some of the people, whom she met through her club.

Mr Justice Michael Green accepted that she was ‘surrounded by undesirable and unscrupulous individuals who took advantage of her’, adding: ‘While it could be said that she allowed herself to be in that position, I do not think she had any control over events at that time.

The judge concluded she was ‘rightly, in my view, offended by any suggestion that she was not in a deep and loving relationship with the deceased, or that she had taken advantage of him’.

He added that Ms Zalinska’s ordeal was a ‘very sad story’ and that it was ‘painful’ to watch her being repeatedly cross-examined.

The 46-year-old’s former husband, Wojtek Zalinski, has since said the call girl claims were ‘absolute rubbish’.

He told MailOnline he was flying to the UK from his home in Krakow to help find out what happened to her.

A full trial for the claim was set to take place next year.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police on routine patrol were approached at around 15:58hrs on Saturday, 11 March by people concerned for the welfare of an occupant at a residential address in Lavender Gardens SW11.

‘Officers forced entry and found a 46-year-old woman deceased. Her next of kin have been informed.

‘The death is being treated as unexpected, though initial enquiries determined it was not suspicious. The Coroner has been informed.’

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