SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Tycoon Tchenguiz in new battle as Covid-19 derails train fortune 

He lives life in the fast lane whether at the wheel of his Ferrari F40 sports car, or aboard his 160 ft yacht, My Little Violet.

But irrepressible property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz seems unlikely to have too much time in which to gallivant around the globe in 2021. 

He has, I can disclose, just become the subject of a High Court claim brought against him by City broker Intertrader.

The company, which filed the claim this week, was one of several City firms from which Tchenguiz borrowed millions of pounds in a series of complex deals.

Irrepressible property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz seems unlikely to have too much time in which to gallivant around the globe in 2021. Pictured: Robert Tchenguiz with sister Lisa

Irrepressible property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz seems unlikely to have too much time in which to gallivant around the globe in 2021. Pictured: Robert Tchenguiz with sister Lisa

Irrepressible property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz seems unlikely to have too much time in which to gallivant around the globe in 2021. Pictured: Robert Tchenguiz with sister Lisa

The 60-year-old, who shares the fourth floor of his £20 million Kensington mansion with his mistress, 30-year-old Julia Dybowska — while his estranged American wife, Heather Bird, 51, sleeps three floors below — used the money to invest in FirstGroup, owner of Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and the TransPennine Express.

At first, his investment strategy seemed impeccably judged. His shareholding rose in value to between £70 million and £100 million as FirstGroup’s shares traded between 90p and £1.30. 

But then the Covid-19 struck, causing the firm’s share price to collapse, slumping, at one point, to just 28p. Now comes the battle over who will foot the bill.

Or battles: Intertrader’s new legal action comes barely a month after Tchenguiz learned that he faces another High Court assault from spreadbetting group CMC, which claims he built up a £1.131 million debt.

The 60-year-old shares the fourth floor of his £20 million Kensington mansion with his mistress, 30-year-old Julia Dybowska while his estranged American wife, Heather Bird, 51, sleeps three floors below

The 60-year-old shares the fourth floor of his £20 million Kensington mansion with his mistress, 30-year-old Julia Dybowska while his estranged American wife, Heather Bird, 51, sleeps three floors below

The 60-year-old shares the fourth floor of his £20 million Kensington mansion with his mistress, 30-year-old Julia Dybowska while his estranged American wife, Heather Bird, 51, sleeps three floors below

In an initial hearing for that case, which is scheduled to begin in May, Daniel Saoul QC, CMC’s barrister, said that Tchenguiz had accounts with five other spread betting companies, all showing a loss — and ‘one of them may be up to £30 million’.

Tchenguiz, once named ‘Property Entrepreneur of The Year’, is vigorously defending the claim, and is countersuing CMC.

Russell Tovey, who starred in The History Boys on stage in London and New York, claims British actors aren’t as welcoming of famous fans as their American counterparts. 

‘On Broadway, if a celebrity’s in the audience, they come backstage to say hello. Everybody’s welcome,’ he muses. 

‘In London, if a celebrity comes backstage, everyone’s like, “Urgh, who do you think you are?” It’s so British.’

Cat woman Carla has a new kitten 

Singer and model Carla Bruni has acquired an early birthday present for her husband, the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Ahead of his 66th birthday this month, she has adopted a tabby kitten, which has been optimistically named Dream.

The Vogue cover star, 53, who has a nine-year-old daughter, Giulia, with Sarkozy, shared a picture of the cat (below) and writes online: ‘Welcome to our family.’

Singer and model Carla Bruni has acquired an early birthday present for her husband, the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy

Singer and model Carla Bruni has acquired an early birthday present for her husband, the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy

Singer and model Carla Bruni has acquired an early birthday present for her husband, the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy

Ahead of her husband's 66th birthday this month, she has adopted a tabby kitten, which has been optimistically named Dream

Ahead of her husband's 66th birthday this month, she has adopted a tabby kitten, which has been optimistically named Dream

Ahead of her husband’s 66th birthday this month, she has adopted a tabby kitten, which has been optimistically named Dream

Bruni, herself, identifies strongly with the feline species. Shortly before her marriage to Sarkozy, 12 years ago, she declared: ‘I am a tamer of men, a cat, an Italian.’

Authoir Jeffrey Archer is celebrating his return, after 18 years, to publishing giant HarperCollins this week. It will release his next book, Over My Dead Body, this autumn. 

CEO Charlie Redmayne — brother of Oscar winner Eddie — says: ‘It has been a constant irritation that my tenure at HarperCollins started after his fantastic run of books with us in the 1990s.

I am delighted that the situation will now be rectified.’

Garvey’s Zoom rage over send-off 

Veteran broadcaster Jane Garvey, who bowed out as host of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour last month after 13 years, admits that she was less than impressed by her send-off at the BBC.

‘I had a Zoom leaving party. They are terrible. I am really missing my friends and colleagues there, but it is s***,’ says the 56-year-old, referring to the video conferencing platform that has become popular in lockdown.

‘Nobody wants a Zoom leaving do. It is soul destroying. Of all the horrendous things that are going on in the world at the moment, the Zoom leaving do is definitely a part of the pandemic none of us will ever want to relive.’

Trampoline gives Suki a lockdown bounce 

Keeping trim has turned into an obsession for Burberry model Suki Waterhouse, who reveals she’s developed a strict regime at home in West London.

Keeping trim has turned into an obsession for Burberry model Suki Waterhouse, who reveals she¿s developed a strict regime at home in West London

Keeping trim has turned into an obsession for Burberry model Suki Waterhouse, who reveals she¿s developed a strict regime at home in West London

Keeping trim has turned into an obsession for Burberry model Suki Waterhouse, who reveals she’s developed a strict regime at home in West London

The 29-year-old, who is dating Twilight star Robert Pattinson, explains: ¿I go to bed at a good time and get up at a good time

The 29-year-old, who is dating Twilight star Robert Pattinson, explains: ¿I go to bed at a good time and get up at a good time

The 29-year-old, who is dating Twilight star Robert Pattinson, explains: ‘I go to bed at a good time and get up at a good time

‘At the beginning of lockdown, I revelled in not having to do anything,’ she tells me. ‘By now I’ve gone  the other way.’

The 29-year-old, who is dating Twilight star Robert Pattinson, explains: ‘I go to bed at a good time and get up at a good time.

‘I’ve been working out an hour every morning, doing dance classes online, putting music on and going mental jumping up and down.

‘I bought a trampoline so I’ve been jumping a lot — even when I’m on the phone.’

James Bond villain Steven Berkoff, who played General Orlov in the 1983 film Octopussy, claims the real baddies are those refusing the Covid vaccine. 

‘People who turn down the chance to have a vaccine are not very smart,’ says the 83-year-old Londoner, who received his first jab this week. 

‘It should be mandatory — otherwise you’re putting everyone else at risk.’

Dressing up lifts Marina’s spirits 

TV adventurer Ben Fogle’s wife, Marina, claims women should stop scrimping on style during lockdown because a pretty dress and make-up can boost optimism.

TV adventurer Ben Fogle¿s wife, Marina, claims women should stop scrimping on style during lockdown because a pretty dress and make-up can boost optimism

TV adventurer Ben Fogle¿s wife, Marina, claims women should stop scrimping on style during lockdown because a pretty dress and make-up can boost optimism

TV adventurer Ben Fogle’s wife, Marina, claims women should stop scrimping on style during lockdown because a pretty dress and make-up can boost optimism

‘I always make a point of putting on something nice,’ says the mother-of-two. ‘It’s so easy, when we’re confined to the home, to slob around in pyjamas.

‘I find a big part of staying sane, of ensuring my spirits remain lifted, is by making an effort to get dressed up, to put on make-up and brush my hair, even though the only people who will see it are my family.

‘The greyer days are affecting my mood, but a beautiful dress and a bit of blusher make me feel stronger.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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