Businessman gave £200,000 to Tinder and now he wants it back
A lovelorn businessman who gave almost £200,000 on a Tinder date is fighting in court to get his money back almost five years later.
London oil industry consultant Marcel Kooter, 61, is suing Manuela Radeva, 41, after meeting her online in February 2017.
He claims he was ‘blinded by love’ which led him to transfer the huge sum of money to his bank account.
Mr. Kooter had a whirlwind nine-month relationship with Ms. Radeva, who claimed to be an investment manager.
Just weeks after they met, the couple moved into Mr Kooter’s luxury flat in Woolwich together.
But he later discovered she was not a professional financier, or even single – having married another man a few weeks earlier.
Mr Kooter sued her in December 2017 in a bid to get her money back.
He won his case but to this day is still fighting to get the £206,000 she now owes him after filing for bankruptcy in the UK within a month of the February 2019 ruling.
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However, last week a judge overturned Ms Radeva’s bankruptcy, clearing the way for her to sue for her money.
Judge Raquel Agnello KC said Ms Radeva’s successful bankruptcy petition was based on a series of false statements and a fake college certificate.
He said they were designed to create an “illusion” that she was based in the UK and therefore eligible for bankruptcy here.
During the case, the High Court heard the couple enjoyed a ‘lavish lifestyle’ together, enjoying ski holidays and stays in expensive hotels.
Mr Kooter splashed thousands of gifts including designer luggage and a Chanel handbag and purse for his new lover, the court heard.
After they split, he claimed £182,000 which he said he gave her thinking she was a professional who would invest it for him.
But Michael Collard, on behalf of Ms Radeva, claimed the payments were part of their lavish ‘domestic expenses as a couple’ and Ms Radeva should not be forced to pay it back.
He said: “He was a man with a very high income in what was clearly a serious relationship.”
They lived together. It was a relationship with many kisses. It was not a professional relationship between them.
In her deposition, Ms Radeva had claimed before the judge that she had never said that she was an investment manager and that trading was only her “evening hobby”.
But ruling in 2019, Judge John Cavanagh said a screenshot of her Tinder profile from 2017 “indicated on that profile that she was employed by Citibank”.
She had also signed ‘Manuela Radeva, Capital Investment Manager’ emails, he said, ordering her to pay Mr Kooter £182,050 plus £3,641 interest and his £20,000 fee of righteousness.
However, just over three weeks later, Ms Radeva filed for bankruptcy protection – Mr Kooter being her only significant creditor – and the order was granted in July of that year.
Annulling the bankruptcy last week after a challenge from Mr Kooter, Judge Agnello said he had spent years trying to have it annulled but had seen hearings repeatedly aborted due to Ms. Radeva’s illness allegations.
The case will now return to court for another hearing at a later date to decide the consequences of the judges’ order.
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