Beauty hints at romance with tycoon
- Last Updated: 5:03 AM, March 2, 2012
- Posted: 2:37 AM, March 2, 2012
She was his very personal assistant.
That’s the stunning defense that glamorous, Russian-born Renata Shamrakova unveiled yesterday after pleading not guilty to charges that she looted party-boy hedge-funder Todd Meister out of nearly $1 million while working as his assistant last year.
Meister, 41, famously married Paris Hilton’s sister Nicky — a childhood pal — at a Las Vegas chapel in 2004 after the pair had dated for only three months. The marriage was annulled six weeks later.
“We are investigating the possibility that there was a romantic relationship and the purchases and the payments on the cards were with his consent,” defense lawyer Marc Agnifilo said after the raven-haired Russian left Manhattan Criminal Court, flashing a mysterious smile.
“I had no relationship outside of work with Renata, and no social relationship or interaction with her,” Meister, a Harvard grad who once managed $2 billion in investments, said last night.
But “my view to this is that he was authorizing these payments every month,” Agnifilo said of the 10-month credit-card spree Shamrakova is charged with, on top of charges of tampering and obstruction for allegedly trying to dump evidence with the help of now-ex-boyfriend Michael Smaye.
Smaye, a Canadian citizen, is charged with tampering and obstruction, and was in the dark about Shamrakova’s alleged job-related financial and romantic activities, said a source.
“[Meister] is saying she did these things without his consent,” Agnifilo said. “But that’s all going to be a matter of proof.”
Prosecutors, meanwhile, are playing hardball — saying they will agree to nothing less than one year up the river in her felony case.
“It is our position that based on the very high values involved, the defendant should go to state prison,” Assistant District Attorney Cory Jacobs told a judge.
Shamrakova, 26, committed identity theft by taking out one American Express card in Meister’s name, as well as one in her own, and running the cards up to the tune of $900,000 — traveling and buying “thousands of pieces of jewelry,” the prosecutor said.
Shamrakova pillaged Meister’s JPMorgan Chase bank account to pay the card bills, and she and Smaye sold the jewelry and other high-end goods in their online business, the prosecution claims.
Shamrakova is free on a $450,000 bail bond. She’s due back in court on April 19.