BAR Facing More Legal Problems

The off-track battles faced by BAR-Honda continued today when team boss David Richards revealed another court order against the team had been obtained by Monaco-based company PPGI.

BAR Facing More Legal Problems

The off-track battles faced by BAR-Honda continued today when team boss David Richards revealed another court order against the team had been obtained by Monaco-based company PPGI.

The team missed Friday practice at Magny-Cours after the company - which claim they are owed an estimated $3 million (USD) in past debts - were granted the right to impound the BAR cars overnight on Thursday.

The court order was overturned on Friday but Richards said on Sunday that France Corbeil, who is acting for the company, had obtained another order to impound the cars.

"He has been to another court and persuaded another court to issue some papers," said Richards. "Again it is based on this totally ridiculous claim. He knows that in the fullness of time in proper court proceedings he is not going to win.

"All he can do is try and frustrate the legitimate business activities of the company in the meantime and try and persuade us to pay him some money to go away."

Corbeil claims that he is owed the money after introducing former sponsor Teleglobe to the team five years ago, in the days when Craig Pollock was in charge and before Richards took the helm. Richards revealed the Monaco company is struggling for funds and claimed that they themselves owe Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone "a vast amount of money."

BAR will begin counter-suing the company on Monday and Richards added: "The way he is going about it, he is using every trick in the book now. Our lawyers had believed him. He is just threatening and is causing as much nuisance as he can. Our lawyers have said we didn't know what we were dealing with. Now we will go about it in the same aggressive way that he has gone about it."

Richards says that the company was "not allowed to (seize the vehicles) under French law and explained that the decision to go along with the seizure on Thursday and Friday was made by the team's lawyers.

The BAR cars were packed into transporters with posters declaring 'Objets Seises' (Seized Objects) stuck to the sides of the trucks on Thursday after French police and bailiffs stormed into the paddock.

"When he went to the commercial court, the order he had was issued wrongly," Richards said. "His lawyer knew it was issued wrongly which allowed them to seize us, which they weren't allowed to do. They are not allowed to do that under French law, but he still allowed the bailiff to act improperly in that order. We were advised by our lawyers not to breach that but to take the proper action.

"We followed the proper procedures and it took two hours on Friday morning to achieve it. We could have broken the seals and taken the risks but he advised us not to do that."

The team also said in a statement that they would be allowed to take their cars back to Britain in order to prepare them for the British Grand Prix.

"BAR is completely within its rights under French law to remove its cars and equipment from the circuit and return to the UK in order to prepare them for participation in the British Grand Prix in two weeks' time and any suggestion that this action is contrary to French law or any orders that PPGI may have obtained is totally false," said the statement.

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