A tycoon who abondoned his £80k Maserati Cambiocorsa in a London car pound for three months after running up parking and congestion zone fines of £5k told the Evening Standard he was simply "too busy" to collect the supercar.
Seriously hacked-off authorities towed Bertrand Des Pallieres's motor from a Knightsbridge square back in May, and TfL spent three months trying to track down the elusive Parisian. He had attracted no less than 65 congestion charge penalties and "dozens" of parking fines as well as driving the vehicle without road tax.
The Standard eventually caught up with Des Pallieres just as his Maserati was due to go under the auctioneer's hammer. He explained he'd been a bit tied up with setting up a new business after quitting Deutsche Bank in April, and elaborated: "The truth is I was so busy I did not have time to deal with sorting the congestion charges, paying my road tax, and getting my car out of the pound.
"I have been setting up a new business and, as you can imagine, it requires all my focus. I have been running around the world raising money for my fund and setting it up. When I left my previous job at Deutsche Bank, I lost my PA. She had always organised all of these domestic things for me. For a while I did not have a PA, but now I have one, so this will get sorted out.
"I can be too focused, which has its pluses and minuses. I am quite obsessive about work. I think here is a clear example where I have perhaps focused on work to the exclusion of everything else."
In addition to the £5k in outstanding fines, Des Pallieres will also have to cough £25-a-day for his motor's stay in the pound. He said: "In my defence, I would say that parking in the TfL car pound is not that expensive relative to the cost of parking in central London."
Des Pallieres admitted some people might find his absent-mindedness "strange", but claimed "it was always my intention to pick it up". He offered: "I only ever use the car in the summer and this summer I have hardly been in London."
DVLA enforcement officer Bethan Beasley, the man responsible for the Maserati impounding operation, told the Standard: "We thought he would pay up straight away when his car was seized but he totally ignored us. We do clamp quite a lot of high-value cars but normally people come and claim their cars very quickly.
"Normally, we give people 14 days to reclaim their cars, then crush them or auction them. In this case, we were not sure how to sell the car because it was so unusual. We could not understand why he had not got in touch." ®