FORMULA 1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone has lost a High Court damages action arising out of a custody battle over a rare Lamborghini Aventador car.
In a ruling made public yesterday, Mr Justice Dingemans said: "It might be noted that the car has caused everyone far more trouble than it is worth."
The 29-year-old socialite daughter of Bernie Ecclestone bought the Aventador for £380,000 (€460,000) in 2012 and, according to ex-boyfriend Omar Khyami, gave it to him as a gift. Last April the car was collected from a pound, where it had been taken while away for a service, and turned up in a garage controlled by Elite Performance Cars Ltd, from whom Ms Ecclestone had bought it.
Mr Khyami had borrowed money from Elite and given the Lamborghini as security for the loan but Ms Ecclestone said Mr Khyami did not own the car and began proceedings for its return.
The car was then sold to Ansol Trading Ltd by Elite, whose case was that it was entitled to do so as it had a security over the car. In November, Paul Lowenstein QC told the court in London that, if there was no valid transfer between Mr Khyami and Elite, the claims brought by Elite and Ansol ended there. Elite's counsel, Roger Masefield QC said Elite had been struggling to stay in business because of publicity about the case.
Yesterday, the judge said Elite was entitled to £7,500 damages and Ansol was the car's owner and awarded it £15,000.
He ruled that the car was a gift from Ms Ecclestone to Mr Khyami, who transferred possession and title to Elite in part satisfaction of his debt, and Elite transferred title to Ansol.