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Previously on TJ13:
Ecclestone’s secret sign
No on is quite sure whether the once famed “F1 supremo” is wiping his eye, or giving Judge Noll an Il Padrino inspired signal.
TJ13 reported on the commencement of the proceedings in Munich court A101 yesterday, Interestingly, SKY F1’s website has no news or comment on the commencement of the Ecclestone trial. Maybe they’ve had the signal too?
Anyway, it appears it’s going to be a long 13 weeks and 26 days in court for Judge Noll as the issues are clear, and again were restated at length on day 1 of the trial.
Ecclestone paid German Banker Gribkowsky $44m…. for something. This is agreed.
The prosecution say, the payment was to persuade Gribkowsky to influence his employer the BayernLB Bank – which at the time was selling nearly 50% of the F1 rights – to sell the F1 shares to CVC who had indicated they would retain Ecclestone’s services as CEO.
There were other potential buyers in the market at the time, and Bluewaters Communications currently have a law suit pending against Ecclestone for around $650m, based upon the fact they would have paid BayernLB more than CVC – given the opportunity.
On the other hand, Ecclestone says Gribkowsky threatened to expose certain of his financial dealings to the UK tax authorities, which may or may not have resulted in Mr. E receiving a tax bill for $2bn. The payment Ecclestone asserts was blackmail.
Ecclestone’s statement lasted for several hours yesterday and for some unknown reason included memories from his childhood during World War Two recalling German bomber raids on the town of Dartford, Kent, where he went to school.
And that – Ladies and Gentlemen of the TJ13 jury – is about it.
Ecclestone’s recent partial victory in London over Constantin has given his defence some comfort. Judge Newey ruled that there was no evidence Ecclestone acted with the intention of “under valuing” the F1 shares. Yet this case did not address the issues, currently being brought by the Munich prosecutors.
Many cases are regularly lost by prosecution services from various jurisdictions around the world, yet this case is about as high profile as it gets.
There may be some rabbits pulled from hats over the coming weeks, but the fact this case has made it to trial would suggest, those prosecuting believe they have a better than ‘normal’ chance of gaining a conviction. Otherwise after years of hype, in the aftermath of an Ecclestone acquittal, questions would be asked of those pressing for Ecclestone to be charged.
Meanwhile, Tamara Ecclestone is in full “Check me out everyone” mode as she exercises publicly in a London park.
Vettel not playing – from Sniff Petrol
Sebastian Vettel isn’t coming out to play any more unless the other boys are nicer to him, the world champion’s mum has warned today. In a letter to the FIA, Mrs Vettel has warned that ‘certain boys’ within F1 have been ‘horrible’ to her son and have engaged in ‘mean behaviour’ such as ‘overtaking him’ and ‘not letting him win’.
In particular, the German driver’s mother insists that he will not bring his toys to Spain in two weeks’ time unless one ‘very mean boy’ stops ‘showing off just because he has the same toy.’
Mrs Vettel concludes her stark missive by suggesting that the only way to get her son to come downstairs and finish his dinner is if the other boys ‘just let Sebby be world champion again’.
McLaren sponsor rumours persist
James Allen has suggested that McLaren may be close to a title sponsorship deal with Chinese giant telecoms company Huawei (pronounced wah-whey)
After recently failing to convince the US government that it wasn’t being used by Beijing to spy on American businesses and citizens, Huawei Technologies says it is no longer interested in the US market.
And as it turns out, despite the fact that the US is a massive market for consumer and business telecommunications, throwing in the towel there has not hurt Huawei much.
During an annual analyst meeting (held last week at a Spanish bullfighting-themed hotel in Shenzhen), Huawei executives broadcast rosy growth projections for company’s future revenues, new ventures and core business. Annual revenues were up 8.5% to $39.5 billion in 2013, Huawei said, Growth has come from European carriers under intense pressure to keep costs low while they upgrade their networks, a new focus from China on buying Chinese, and new business in Australia and the rest of the Asia Pacific region.
The Americas (mostly the US) were the only area where Huawei’s revenues fell in 2013, down 1.3%, executives said. Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (mostly Europe) are nearly as big as in China.
Analysts at the meeting said that Huawei had continued to grow because it was focusing on what its customers wanted, and because its prices were lower than many of its major competitors. It is doing well in countries where spying concerns take a backseat to other issues “Eh, there are some concerns about security,” explained one French analyst, who did not want to be named criticizing the company. “But, they are cheap.”
The attraction of the publicity F1 may provide Huawei.. is obvious.The question Big Ron has to ask himself is….. who may be spying on whom?.
Mr Horner and Mr Marko may find it ironic should McLaren pursue this relationship with a company openly accused of using its operational activities to collect information illegally and to spy on people.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it
When you’ve got more money than you can spend, even buying the private island once owned by Malcolm Forbes doesn’t bring long term satisfaction.
Red Bull emperor, Dieter Mateschitz, bought Laucala Island in 2002 and eventually opened his many star resort there in 2011.
Now we all know every tropical island needs an underground command centre and a submarine. So, Dieter commissioned a $1.7 million project with Hawkes Ocean Technologies to produce an extreme submersible, part jet fighter and part great white shark
The Deep Flight Super Falcon is different from other submersibles which are sinkers–cumbersome crafts that take on tons of water to drop deep in the ocean. The nimble Super Falcon works differently; its movable wings provide negative lift and allow the craft to move in three dimensions like an underwater airplane. Hawkes told Forbes, “Put the nose down, and yee-ha–you’re flying.”
Yet Mateschitz is not just an adrenaline junkie, TJ13 has previously suggested he perceives himself as some kind of re-incarnation of the great Styrian moderniser, Archduke Johann.
The archduke was a benefactor to this region of Austria and his love of Styria was visually evident from his daily wearing of the Upper Styrian frock coat with a green fringe.
The archduke studied the land and the people intensively and could therefore make significant contributions to development; primarily, but not exclusively, to that of the rural population.
In 1811, he laid the foundation for the Joanneum in Graz, the precursor to the Technical University. He founded the Styrian State Library, the State Archive, the savings bank, a mutual fire insurance institution, the Landesoberrealschule (State Upper Secondary School) and the Historical Association.
Yet he was not just a rich benefactor. During the famine of 1816/17, he personally distributed potatoes and also made sure that they were planted. He introduced farmers to new plants, seeds and varieties. He propagated new methods of livestock breeding and of orchard and crop plantation.
He also bought land and property in the region, most famously Stainz Castle, where two exhibitions to his life are currently on display. Further, he developed the infrastructure of Styria, and was a great patron of the railway. For a long time, the line between Mürzzuschlag and Graz was known as the “Erzherzog Johann Bahn” (“Archduke Johann Train”).
Mateschitz of course has refurbished the famous ‘A’ ring and now been fundamental in the return of F1 to Styria. However, more recently he has been on something of a shopping spree in Upper Styria, where he already owns numerous hotels and grounds adjacent to the Red Bull Ring.
Last week, Dieter purchased almost all the property owned by the HMZ private foundation of the late industrialist Helmut Zoidl.
This includes the grand property, though past its former glory, of the Seehotel am Grundisee whose 2,000 hectares of grounds see the property sit adjacent to head of the lake Grundisee
Mateschitz is to invest tens of millions into his new project which will develop the nearby castle Gabelhofen Fohnsdorf . It was here during the years of the A1 ring where many of the F1 drivers from yesteryear were hosted for the GP weekend.
This will facilitate a haven of rest for the current crop of drivers, away from the grime and toil of the race track and garages littered with oily rags.