Elle Macpherson, the Australian model, has been accused of taking part in a "conspiracy" to cover up claims her billionaire husband was piloting a helicopter without a licence when it crashed, killing his best friend.

She is named in a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit filed in Miami federal court against Jeff Soffer, a hotel and property tycoon, by Daria Valdez, whose husband Lance died in the crash in the Bahamas in November last year.

It claims Mr Soffer, the owner of Miami's Fontainebleau hotel, was "recklessly flying and controlling" the helicopter without a valid pilot's licence when it crashed attempting a landing at the Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club on Great Guana Cay.

Mr Valdez, a successful international tax attorney based in the Bahamas, died, and Mr Soffer and four other passengers were injured. Mr Soffer's attorney said the hotelier denied all allegations of wrongdoing.


Mr Valdez, a father of three young children, was one of Mr Soffer's oldest friends and reportedly introduced the hotelier to Macpherson when she was based in London. The couple broke up earlier in 2012 but reconciled as he recovered from the crash and married in Fiji in July.

The lawsuit alleges that Mrs Valdez came under intense pressure from Mr Soffer and his associates to sign a release stating that she would not take legal action against anyone on board the helicopter in return for accepting a $2 million insurance payment.