A MULTI-million pound lawsuit over the death of a Wye businessman in a fatal yachting accident has been filed in an Italian court.

The two boat skippers accused of causing the fatal off-shore accident that led to the death of 61-year-old Ross-on-Wye millionaire Dean Kronsbein appeared at a hearing in Sardinia last Wednesday and were told to appear again next March.

Both face manslaughter and shipwreck charges over the July 2022 tragedy off the jet set island coast, when Mr Kronsbein’s 88ft-long yacht Amore, and a motor cruiser then owned by Italian prime minister Silvino Berlusconi, almost collided head-on at high speed.

The businessman, a friend of Weston-under-Penyard Grand Tour TV presenter Richard Hammond, with whom he shared an interest in classic motors, was holidaying with his wife and daughter on the island at the time of the nautical accident.

The Italian Coastguard investigation found that when the Amore took evasive action to avoid the Sweet Dragon near Porto Cervo, it collided with rocks, throwing Mr Kronsbein overboard, who subsequently died of his injuries.

Mr Kronsbein’s wife Sabine and daughter Sophia, who lived with him at Cubberley House near Ross, also suffered injuries.

The multi-million pound lawsuit on behalf of the family was filed at the hearing against the insurers of the Amore and the Sweet Dragon.

Lawyer Markus Wiget told the court the buisnessman was at the peak of his career and his death was a disastrous fact, not only for his family, but also for his company, Ultrafilter GmbH, which has a factory he opened in Ross during the pandemic, and plants in Germany.

He said Mr Kronsbein, whose business gave away thousands of masks during the pandemic, was known as one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of hygienic and medical filters and masks.

The preliminary hearing in front of Judge Caterina Interandi opened criminal proceedings against Amore commander Mario Lallone, 68, and Sweet Dragon skipper Luigi Cortese, 58. They were told to reappear in court on March 26, 2024.

While controversial former president Berlusconi, who died this year, was reportedly not on the Magnum 70 motorboat at the time of the accident, members of his family were.

An in-depth reconstruction of the tragedy by the Italian Coast Guard concluded that the two boats were sailing on a collision course at high speed in the stretch of sea between Li Nibari and the Rocce islet.

The prosecution report accuses the skippers of ‘negligence, imprudence and inexperience’.

It highlights that the boats were sailing fast towards each other ‘at between 26-28 knots’ off islands on the north-east coast of the millionaires’ playground, in waters where navigation is banned.