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Lamborghini Tug of War: Ownership of Romantic Gifts

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Cars of all types have been known to insight an extraordinary degree of passion in their owners particularly among addicts of BBC’s Top Gear. But exotic supercars such as the Lamborghini Aventador have the ability to wow even non enthusiasts with their combination of outrageous looks, extreme performance and wallet-withering price tags.

The idea of gifting something as extravagant as a Lamborghini Aventador to your other half is only likely to cross the mind of the seriously passion-struck and very wealthy, but even more modest gifts can seem valuable in the heat of a breakup. Generous lovers should be warned though, if the relationship breaks down before the car (modern supercars are apparently very reliable), ownership will follow the same rules as even small gifts.

Tamara Ecclestone’s lost tug of war over a Lamborghini Aventador provides a salutary lesson.

The Law on Gifts

A Lamborghini Aventador definitely tips the scale towards the extreme end of expensive gifts at £380,000 a pop but what constitutes a gift in these circumstances is no different than with other personal chattels. Personal chattels are tangible goods that a person owns other than land or buildings and include things like furniture, antiques, paintings, jewellery and cars.

To make a gift of a personal chattel a person must transfer it to another person without valuable consideration, i.e. without being paid for it, with the intention of giving it to them and by delivering it to them. The recipient of the gift must also accept the gift.

If a gift is made unconditionally, the donor cannot revoke the gift.

Tamara Ecclestone’s Lost Lamborghini

Tamara Ecclestone gave a Lamborghini Aventador to her then boyfriend, Omar Khyami, for his 38th birthday in 2012. After they had separated, she claimed that the car was only provided to him while they were living together and was never intended as a gift.

The issue came to a head when the car was seized by Elite Cars Ltd, the company from who Bernie Ecclestone had originally bought the car. Mr Khyami had used the Lamborghini to finance a Bentley which he bought for Tamara Ecclestone also from Elite Cars Ltd. Elite sold the Lamborghini on to another company called Ansol Trading Ltd.

Mr Justice Dingemans held that Ansol Trading Ltd was the rightful owner of the car and that Ms Ecclestone had wrongfully interfered with the sale made between Elite Cars Ltd and Ansol Trading Ltd. Both companies were awarded damages.

Comment

Although this case was somewhat complicated by the various transactions that took place subsequent to the gift, it does highlight the thorny issue of romantic gifts post breakup. If objects of meaningful value are provided within the context of a relationship and certain conditions are desirable, these should be made explicitly before the gift is given. For specialist advice contact Peter Gourri today by email PGourri@rollingsons.co.uk or telephone 0207 611 4848.

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