SVEN-Goran Eriksson has begun a legal battle to evict ex-partner Nancy Dell'Olio from his London flat claiming that he only let her stay until she found somewhere else to live.
The reality TV star has been living in Mr Eriksson's €3.3m (£2.7m) flat in Belgravia, central London, since the couple split.
Mr Eriksson bought the flat, which is on the road used as the setting for TV drama Upstairs Downstairs, for just under £1million in 2005, two years before the end of their 10 year relationship.
Neighbours include Lady Thatcher and Joan Collins.
But If Mr Eriksson succeeds in his bid for a possession order, Miss Dell'Olio could be forced to leave the flat within 28 days or face the prospect of being forcibly removed by bailiffs.
Italian lawyer Miss Dell'Olio remained in the stucco-fronted building when she and Mr Eriksson broke up in 2007, claiming that they had a verbal agreement that she could live there indefinitely.
But the 64-year-old Swede claims he agreed to let her live rent-free for only a year as a gesture of goodwill while she found a new home.
The legal proceedings have been brought against Dell'Olio by MPR Trust Company Ltd, which the TV presenter's lawyer said is merely a ''bare nominee'' of Mr Eriksson.
The trust is registered in Guernsey.
Asela Wijeyaratne, MPR's lawyer, said: ''The defence said an agreement has been entered into by Mr Eriksson and Ms Dell'Olio - essentially a separation agreement offering a right for Ms Dell'Olio to remain in the premises until a property in Italy has been transferred to her.''
Paul de la Piquerie, for Ms Dell'Olio, said: ''This matter is about to become slightly more complicated.
''There is going to be, it would seem, an argument about the status of MPR Trust Company Limited and whether it is a trust or whether it is nothing more than a bare nominee of Mr Eriksson.''
Speaking after the hearing, Mr de la Piquerie said: ''We now have directions for each party to set out their case and a proper pleading.
''We will be returning to court for an hour-long hearing in the not-too-distant future.''
Sources close to Miss Dell'Olio are reported as saying she would be prepared to leave only after a financial settlement. A friend of Miss Dell'Olio said: 'He told Nancy he would always take care of her financially.
'Nancy feels she is only fighting for what she was promised.'
Mr Eriksson wants to sell the property while he pursues football management opportunities abroad.
That hearing is due to take place some time after July 25.