EDDIE Irvine is a household name in Italy thanks to his exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari – but so too was his opponent in the unseemly nightclub fight.
Gabriele Moratti has hit the headlines before, most notably last April when he went before a different court for turning almost 450 square metres of work space into a luxury home without planning permission.
The local media dubbed it the ‘Bat Cave’ or the ‘Bat Casa’ because the home included a shooting range, a pool with a draw bridge and a hidden, underground training facility.
Moratti is a member of one of Italy's most influential families and has close ties to some of the most important figures in Italian politics, economics and sport.
Both men would consider themselves well-suited to a popular celebrity haunt, but when they crossed paths in December 2008, the result was ugly.
The Italian apparently flew into a jealous rage over the ex-F1 driver's friendship with his former girlfriend.
According to reports, the motorsport star was talking to Giorgia Re, an attractive Milan native who works in marketing.
Irvine's lawyers told the court that he was attacked from behind and fought back in self defence inside the VIP section of the Discoteca Hollywood.
The scandal was of particular embarrassment to Gabriele's mother, Letizia Moratti, who was at the time serving as the mayor of Milan.
She was previously a minister in the government of Silvio Berlusconi.
Moratti's father, Gianmarco, is the president of Saras, an energy provider that refines oil and produces electricity from its base on the island of Sardinia.
The company, which has annual revenue in excess of €11bn and employs more than 1,800 people, was founded by Gabriele's grandfather, Angelo, in 1962.
Family ties aside, Gabriele is mainly famous for getting in trouble.