New York financial company Bluewaters Communications Holdings has launched a $650m legal claim against Bernie Ecclestone, his associated companies and others in relation to the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribe affair.
In essence Bluewaters says it was a potential buyer of the F1 business, and lost out because of the bribe.
The action, filed in the Supreme Court of New York State, is against Ecclestone, CVC Capital Partners, Ecclestone-run companies Alpha Prema, Alpha Topco and Delta Topco, Gribkowsky, and Bayerische Landesbank.
The introduction sums it up thus: “This case arises out of a $44 million bribe paid by defendant Ecclestone to defendant Gribkowsky using money supplied by defendants CVC and BayernLB. Gribkowsky was prosecuted and convicted of taking the bribe and is now serving an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence. Ecclestone orchestrated and paid the bribe to preserve his status as head of an automobile-racing empire known as ‘Formula 1.’
“Plaintiff was the high bidder for the purchase of Formula 1, but Ecclestone bribed Gribkowsky—using CVC’s and BayernLB’s money—to steer the sale of Formula 1 to CVC for CVC’s and Ecclestone’s benefit. Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount exceeding $650 million.”
After explaining the details chronology of the affair over some 27 pages, it concludes: “Each of CVC, Alpha Prema, Alpha Topco, and Delta Topco extracted billions of dollars from Formula 1 that do not rightfully belong to them. CVC, Alpha Prema, Alpha Topco, and Delta Topco have profited enormously from CVC’s wrongful acquisition of Formula 1, which is currently valued at $10 billion.
“Ecclestone was unjustly enriched by receiving an improper ‘finder’s fee.’ Gribkowsky was unjustly enriched by accepting an improper bribe. CVC, Alpha Prema, Alpha Topco, Delta Topco, Ecclestone, and Gribkowsky must disgorge the profits rightfully belonging to Bluewaters.”