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The ex-partner of one of Britain’s richest financiers is banned from leaving Mauritius over claims she stole a range of household items from the villa they once shared on the paradise island.
Teresa de Freitas, 47, split with Terry Smith, 68, following 13 years together and the pair have since been involved in a bitter legal battle.
Mr Smith, recognised as a master stockbroker and believed to be worth around £300million, has brought a number of legal claims against Ms de Freitas, who has responded by bringing her own.
He has now accused his former partner of stealing items from their home, including the Nespresso machine and £222 of White Company bedding, The Sunday Times reports.
Mr Smith also claimed last year that Ms de Freitas embezzled money from a joint bank account which the couple used.
Ms de Freitas, a company secretary, strongly denies all allegations of impropriety and claims she is being ‘victimised for having left a powerful and rich man’.
One of the central parts of the dispute involves Ms de Freitas’ daughter, whom Mr Smith wished to adopt. He is not the biological father of the girl.
She has had her bank accounts frozen and she has been hit by massive legal bills which she is having difficulty in paying.
It comes as Ms de Freitas is now banned from leaving the island as the legal process plays out and even needs court approval to visit her 81-year-old father – who is receiving palliative care for more than 6,000 miles away in the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Multi-millionaire fund manager Terry Smith, 68, left, is involved in a legal dispute with his former partner Teresa de Freitas, 47, with whom he had a relationship for 13 years
Mr Smith, left, first met Ms de Freitas in 2005 when they both worked for stockbroker Collins Stewart. They embarked on a relationship two years later and moved to Mauritius in 2014
Mr Smith moved his operation from London to Mauritius (pictured) in 2014 and asked Ms de Freitas to join him in a villa located inside a luxury golf resort in Tamarin Bay
Britain’s Warren Buffet, Terry Smith
Terry Smith, 68, is the son of an east London lorry driver and is today worth an estimated £300m.
He is responsible for Fundsmith which has more than £26bn under investment.
He worked for Barclays Bank having graduated from University College Cardiff in 1974 until 1983.
He moved into stockbroking in 1984 with W Greenwell & Co and later moved to Collins Stewart in 1992.
In 2000 he led a management buyout of the firm and became Chief Executive.
In 2010 he founded Fundsmith, which has grown to a £26bn investment fund.
An investor depositing £10,000 at launch would have seen their fund increase to more than £62,000.
A court hearing is scheduled for Monday, in which Ms de Freitas will find out if she is able to make the trip to see her father.
She told The Times: ‘It is like your basic right as a human being is taken away from you. It is depraved in a way, it is wrong.
‘I am supposed to have stolen a Nespresso machine and I can’t go and see my dying father? How can you do this to a woman in the 21st century?
‘It is this idea that you are trapped. You are on a tiny island in the middle of the south Indian Ocean where leaving illegally has long term consequences.’
The couple met in 2005 where they both worked for stockbroker Collins Stewart and embarked on a relationship two years later.
Mr Smith moved his operation from London to Mauritius in 2014 and asked Ms de Freitas to join him in a villa located inside a luxury golf resort in Tamarin Bay.
Documents lodged in Mauritius claim the couple’s relationship broke down in April with Mr Smith leaving the family home in May.
Following his departure, Ms de Freitas is alleged to have moved in a new boyfriend to the luxury property. Mr Smith, who owns the property, said the boyfriend should move out of the house.
As the situation deteriorated, Ms de Freitas was arrested on suspicion of stealing items from the property. She denies theft, claiming she had bought the objects in question. She was later released on bail.
Mr Smith, the son of a east London truck driver and previously dubbed Britain’s Warren Buffett, is worth an estimated £300 million and is recognised as a master stock picker
He launched Fundsmith on November 1, 2010 and according to Hargreves Lansdown, an investor who put £10,000 into the fund at the time would have seen their stake rise to more than £62,000.
Clients have invested more than £28bn in the fund controlled by the financial guru.
Recent video footage of Ms de Freitas’ father connected to machines as part of his care.
She has booked a flight with the expectation she will be granted permission to leave the island.
Ms de Freitas says she has receipts for many of the items, but has returned them as a ‘gesture of good will’.
In a statement through his lawyers, Mr Smith said: ‘She surely can see a justification for her arrest since she stole truckloads of my belongings, to which she confessed.
‘Without Ms de Freitas’ actions there could be no arrest. If this is now causing her difficulties with regards to travel, perhaps she should consider her own actions as the source of the problem, not mine, but I doubt she will.’
The couple have been embroiled in both civil and criminal disputes over the past year.
The most pivotal, though, involves Ms de Freitas’ daughter.
Mr Smith wishes to adopt the girl, a minor, but he is not the biological father of the girl.
He has treated Ms de Freitas’ child as his own since the time of her birth and wanted to continue the relationship with the child despite the deteriorating situation with his former partner.
In legal papers, Mr Smith’s lawyers claim he is not obliged to provide financial support for his former partner, but he wishes to contribute to the youngster’s upbringing.
The tycoon’s legal team claims there is no power imbalance between him and Ms de Freitas.
The theft case is expected to drag on for several months.
Source: Daily Mail