‘Mr Lambo’ vows to fight driving charge on principle, court hears

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Flamboyant businessman Adrian Portelli has vowed to fight a driving charge on principle after he lost control of his car in Melbourne’s northwest more than two years ago.

The 34-year-old, dubbed “Mr Lambo”, is a prominent investor known for using a crane to lift a McLaren Senna sports car 57 storeys to display inside his CBD penthouse apartment. He was charged in December 2020 with careless driving and two other driving offences for allegedly causing his car to skid.

Adrian Portelli poses with the sports car he hoisted into his apartment.Credit: Instagram

Portelli has previously posted unrelated videos online of him drifting, which is when the driver intentionally oversteers and loses traction.

The Sunshine Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that police had dropped two charges against Portelli and were only proceeding with a single charge of causing the wheels of his car to lose traction, which he intends to contest.

Portelli told reporters outside court on Wednesday that he was happy about the dropped charges, but would rather spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees than pay the fine.

“I’ve instructed the legal team not to accept any deals, and they’re relatively small charges … it doesn’t make real … sense to fight them, but lucky I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to fight them for the … principle.”

“We’re willing to take it all the way, and we won’t be accepting any deals.”

His barrister, Warwick Walsh-Buckley, told the court Portelli would not be considering a diversion because it would involve a guilty plea.

“He’s fighting this on principle, your honour,” Walsh-Buckley said.

Walsh-Buckley said the police officers’ onboard camera equipment did not implicate his client and that Portelli’s control of his car faltered while driving late at night on a slippery road.

“It’s very heavy rain – he’s lost slight control when he’s negotiating the roundabout,” he said.

“All these charges, relatively mild in the scheme of things, have all been generated in the one incident, and it goes back to … 2020.”

Adrian Portelli says he is fighting the charge on principle.Credit: AFR

He said that whether Portelli would accept a diversion – a way for low-level offenders to avoid a criminal record – was irrelevant because it would require Portelli to admit to the offending, when he intended to contest it.

The court heard that Portelli intended to call an expert witness to give evidence about the extent to which a driver can see objects in rain, but that he hadn’t received the expert’s report yet.

Portelli is a well-known Melbourne entrepreneur, launching subscription-based rewards company LMCT+ in 2018. Subscribers pay $20, $50 or $100 per month to enter raffles to win prizes such as homes and luxury cars.

On his social media accounts, he displays extravagant wealth, posing with Lamborghinis. On his Instagram, the phrase “Live Fast” is on his biography.

In November 2022, Portelli snapped up “House 3” from reality building show The Block in a post-auction deal for $4.25 million. He was dubbed “Mr Lambo” after he turned up to the auctions in a luxury yellow Lamborghini.

At the time, Portelli said he was planning to give people a chance to win the house as part of his promotions business.

In April, he splashed $39 million on the penthouse apartment in the Sapphire by the Gardens building on Exhibition Street, setting a Melbourne unit record. The double-storey pad spans 1200 square metres.

Portelli said he planned to install a swimming pool, multiple kitchens and potentially a bowling alley, alongside the McLaren Senna, which he said would become the centrepiece of the home.

He is due to face court again in May next year.

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