A bizarre tale of two friends falling out over money has hit the headlines in the UK, pitting an upmarket Kensington boutique owner against a woman who may be or may not be who she claims to be, the beneficiary of a Lichtenstein trust fund, Ekaterina Barrett (67), who has been living in style in Monaco.
Bridget Hutchcroft, owner of the Pandora Dress Agency close to Harrods, told the Daily Mail newspaper that her former close friend asked to borrow money to help cover the costs of an expensive divorce.
“Ekaterina never fully explained where her money came from but having visited her apartment in Monaco, I did believe that she had this huge trust fund that she told me about,” said Ms Hutchcroft.
“’She really is uncannily similar to Anna Sorokin, except Ekaterina hasn’t been caught yet,” Ms Hutchcroft added.
Ms Barrett is an Azerbaijani national who was born in Ukraine in 1956 as Ekaterina Svetikova. She married British artist Mitchel Barrett in 2000 and they moved to Vienna, Austria, the Daily Mail reported.
Ms Hutchcroft took Ms Barrett to court, and the case was originally settled before trial when Ms Barrett agreed to pay £1.4 million. However, she failed to pay up and Ms Hutchcroft returned to court and secured a judge’s ruling that she must pay £1.6 million. To date, nothing has been received, Ms Hutchcroft said. She has employed private detectives to track down Ms Barrett.
Ms Hutchcroft believes Ms Barrett owns the apartment in Monaco, which is now on sale for £19.2 million. However, Ms Barrett had claimed that she was not the property’s owner and said she was a UK tax resident.
The Daily Mail was able to track down a representative for Ms Barrett who claimed that she had not admitted any liability by reaching a settlement with Ms Hutchcroft, and that legal proceedings were ‘ongoing’ and she would comply with court orders “in so far as she is able.”
FILE PHOTO: Ms Barrett on the terrace of the Hotel de Paris