A property developer has been convicted of slapping Hometrack founder Giles Mackay in a Mayfair bar.
Simon Lyons, who runs Enstar Capital, said he lashed out because Mackay had called him “a lying shyster Jew”.
Mackay, one of Britain’s richest men, founded property market analytics company Hometrack in 1999 and sold it to Zoopla for £120 million in 2017.
The judge ruled the assault at the MNKY HSE bar was unprovoked and found Lyons, a Canadian-born entrepreneur, guilty of common assault.
CCTV showed Lyons hitting Mackay, 56, before he was pulled away by door staff at the venue popular with celebrities such as Kate Moss. Mackay is seen kicking out to protect himself as Lyons tried to continue the attack.
When giving evidence, Lyons maintained he was provoked and said he was “scared for his life”.
“I used the reasonable force necessary; it was a deterrent because I feared for my life. He was being very menacing,” he said. “I am not proud [of my behaviour]. I don’t advocate violence of any kind, I wish I never had the year that I’ve had.”
Prosecutor William Davis accused Lyons of lying about fearing for his life and suggested Mackay never made an anti-Semitic remark.
The conviction follows a legal battle between the tycoons to prevent damaging personal allegations being made public. In pre-trial hearings, Lyons made a number of claims about Mackay, who dropped out of the court case in an apparent effort to prevent the slurs being made public, the Daily Mail reported.
Mackay spent six months trying to gag the press and prevent the allegations made by Lyons being aired in the trial. In the end, the judge ruled them inadmissible.
When the case was originally scheduled to take place in March, Mackay withdrew a harassment claim against Lyons and initially refused to take part in the prosecution. But when the Crown Prosecution Service proceeded in his absence, Mackay appeared at City of London Magistrates Court mid-way through legal argument to offer to give evidence.
According to the report, Lyons and Mackay knew each other for around four years, but their friendly relationship broke down after Lyons allegedly made rude comments about Mackay during family court proceedings with Lyons’ ex-partner.
Lyons was fined £3,000, ordered to pay £5,956 in costs and given a one-year restraining order for the attack last October.
“You have lost your good character – the facts and stark reality remains that your relationship obviously deteriorated to such an extent that it culminated in the events of October 7,” the judge said. “I only hope, in relation to your personal life, that you are able to put these matters behind you.”
A spokesman for Mr Mackay said: “He is pleased with today’s verdict. He was subjected to an unprovoked attack in full view of other clientele at the venue. He is pleased the judge said that she was sure Mr Mackay made no anti-Semitic comments to Mr Lyons.”
Lyons’ firm Enstar hit the headlines in 2015 when it was revealed the bathrooms in its new office in Mayfair were lined with floor-to-ceiling gold mosaic.
The firm was also reported to be developing a Soho office block with “push for champagne” buttons so hedge fund workers could celebrate with a glass of fizz after a good day.
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