Civil case against Ecclestone dropped

Wednesday 22-January-2014 20:44

The New York Surpeme Court has dismissed a civil action against Bernie Ecclestone.

Bluewaters Communications Holdings LLC, an American-based investment firm, was seeking damages to the amount of 650 million US dollars from the F1 supremo following the controversial sale of the sport's commercial rights to in 2006 to CVC.

According to Bluewaters, the company might the highest for the 47 percent stake former shareholder Bayern LB sold and that Ecclesone was obliged to accept their offer.

Instead, the stake in F1 was sold to CVC Capital Partners, because, Bluewaters claims, Ecclestone paid a bribe to Bayern LB's chief risk officer Gerhard Gribkowsky.

The 650million Bluewaters was seeking represents the projected profits the company claims it would have earned had its purchase been allowed to go through.

However, New York Surpeme Court Justice Eileen Bransten dismissed the claim against Ecclestone, Alpha Prema, Alpha Topco and Delta Topco - three of his companies - as well as Bayern LB and Gribkowsky, who were co-defendants.

While the judgment was already announced last week, the details of the case were only published on the court's online library on Wednesday.

"New York is an inconvenient forum for this legal dispute," Bransten said.

She added that "the 'critical events' underlying the claims in this lawsuit took place in Germany, England, and elsewhere in Europe", while Bluewaters operated out of Jersey at the time.

"This action is not about a lost business venture in New York, but rather on allegations that an English citizen bribed a German citizen to compel a German bank to sell its interest in a Jersey company to an English company rather than another Jersey company.

"The plaintiff's creation of a New York entity merely days before this action was commenced is a blatant attempt at forum shopping, and the court considers Bluewaters to be a Jersey entity operating out of London or the Channel Islands, with no presence in New York except for its legal counsel.

"What it (Bluewaters) ignores is that this case involves a foreign plaintiff (Ecclestone), and that all eight defendants are foreign; the critical events happened in Europe; the bulk of the discovery will happen abroad; the dispute is covered by either English or German law, and that at least three more convenient forums are available - England, Germany and Jersey."

The defendants in the case were awarded costs.

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