AN IRANIAN national who allegedly stole money left to a grieving widow and her children claims the cash was given to her while they were having a lesbian affair.
Harrow Crown Court heard this week that after coming to the UK in 2005, Luna Kordavani was introduced to fellow Iranian Farzaneh Hooshaiari through her sister.
Mrs Hooshaiari agreed to rent a studio flat she owned with her dying husband to Kordavani, who was desperate to find somewhere to live.
Five months after her husband died in June 2006, the Station Road flat was flooded and Mrs Hooshaiari agreed to let 26-year-old Kordavani move in with her and her two children in their family home in Grimsdyke Road, Pinner while the flat was repaired.
When her husband died, his wish was for the £40,000 he left for his children's education to be invested in an Iranian bank, but Mrs Hooshaiari, struggling to come to terms with his death, was unable to arrange the transfer.
It is claimed that Kordavani overheard her difficulty in sending the money back to Iran and offered to help. When Mrs Hooshaiari handed money to the defendant, Kordavani never invested it and instead bought a property in Iran, the court heard.
It was added that Kordavani promised to go back to Iran and get the money back for her, but Mrs Hooshaiari told her that on her return she would have to move out of her home.
Arizuna Asante, prosecuting, told the jury that it was while she was away in Iran that Mrs Hooshaiari discovered Kordavani had also run up thousands of pounds worth of credit card bills in her name.
He said: "Mrs Hooshaiari was completely hoodwinked. She started to realise that Kordavani was always first to pick up the post in the morning.
"Then when she was away in Iran she discovered letters in her name from a number of banks saying that she owed thousands of pounds."
It is alleged that Kordavani applied for eight credit cards, running up a bill of more than £10,000, before getting a loan out on a £16,000 BMW and attempting to get a £70,000 loan against Mrs Hooshaiari's home.
The court heard how she supposedly told banks and major companies that Mrs Hooshaiari was her aunt and had gone 'nuts', so she had been asked to arrange the credit cards for her.
Kordavani claims the pair were having a lesbian affair and that she was given permission from her to apply for the cards and loans.
She denies 16 counts of dishonestly making a false representation.
The trial continues.