Vincent Tchenguiz, the Iranian-born property tycoon has decided to settle a multimillion-pound legal case with a former friend, just hours before he was due to take the witness stand to be cross-examined.
The case concerns money owed by Tchenguiz to a man described as his former best friend, Keyvan Rahimian.
Before the case began the two were described as being so close they were akin to brothers. They grew up as family friends in Iran in the late 60s and met again in London years later, when Rahimian worked as head of IT for Tchenguiz's business.
However, the relationship soured in March 2008 with a bitter row after Tchenguiz accused Rahimian of stealing from him. Since then the two have been locked in a dispute over money owed by Tchenguiz to Rahimian. Rahimian claimed the sum to be £6.7m whilst Tchenguiz claimed it to be £2m.
The court case has heard evidence from lawyers acting from both sides in the past week, with Tchenguiz accusing Rahimian of attempting to use salacious rumours to embarrass the tycoon into capitulating.
Tchenguiz was set to take to the witness stand today to be cross-examined by lawyers acting for Rahimian. They claim that several payments were made by Tchenguiz using Rahimian's bank account to pay for Eastern European models to come over to the UK.
Lawyers acting for Tchenguiz characterised this as an attempt to embarrass the millionaire into settling what they described as a ridiculous claim.
"I don't know why you would think this was a threat of any kind," replied Rahimian to this claim.
"If your client is threatened then that is a different issue. If you feel that he has something to hide then that is a different issue. That is a matter for him to explain," he added.
Rahimian also claimed that he had been asked in his capacity as head of IT to install "spying software" on the telephone systems of unnamed individuals on behalf of his former boss.
With just hours to go before taking the stand, Tchenguiz settled the case out of court for an undisclosed fee.
Read more on the story (The Guardian)
Overview of civil litigation (FindLaw)