Fashion designer to pay back $1.2million of late father’s estate

An Australian fashion designer whose creations are seen on runways around the world has been ordered to pay back $1.2million she received from her late father after she unconscientiously took advantage of his dementia.

Cristina Nitopi, who gave up a career as a counsellor to launch her label in 2007,  received a series of payments totalling $3.2million from her father Egidio ‘Tony’ Nitopi, between 2008 and 2010.

Her brother Giuseppe Nitopi brought the action against his sister in the NSW Supreme Court, asking it to order Cristina to repay the money to the family’s estate.

The court heard Tony had been suffering from dementia from October 2008 until his death in May 2014 at the age of 73 and was in a position of ‘special disadvantage’ during that time.

Mr Nitopi, a successful wholesaler and property developer, had left behind an estate worth $21million.

Justice Guy Parker found that Ms Nitopi, 39, ‘ought to have known’ of her father’s disadvantage from June 2009 onwards, so that payments she received after that time were the result of ‘unconscientiously taking advantage of him’.

The court heard from a close friend of Mr Nitopi’s, Terence Raftery, about his conversations with his friend about the money he was giving to his daughter.