Ecclestone: Court Ruling Means Nothing

Bernie Ecclestone played down the ruling after a High Court judge ruled against the Formula One supremo on Monday in a legal dispute with three banks that could weaken his hold on the sport.

Ecclestone: Court Ruling Means Nothing

Bernie Ecclestone played down the ruling after a High Court judge ruled against the Formula One supremo on Monday in a legal dispute with three banks that could weaken his hold on the sport.

Three shareholding banks under the name Speed Investments brought a case disputing the validity of the appointment of two directors to the board of Formula One Holdings (FOH), which diluted their influence.

At the start of a judgment expected to last many hours, Justice Andrew Park said: "In my judgment it is clear that Speed's contentions are correct and I should therefore make the declarations which it requests."

Ecclestone, when asked by Reuters what the court ruling meant for him, said: "Nothing at all.

"The banks, they want to get out. These people didn't get their shares out of choice, they got them as a security. They got the house and they don't want the house."

The banks acquired their stake in Formula One after Germany's Kirch media empire collapsed owing them $1.6 billion.

"Now they want to cash in the house and that's what they're trying to do," Ecclestone said. "We have no problems with the banks. This is just a problem of them trying to put value on their shares."

The case was being closely watched by major carmakers who have threatened to set up their own 'rival' series from 2008 via GPWC Holdings.

Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers control 75 percent of the SLEC holding company that owns the commercial rights to Formula One. The other 25 percent is owned by Bambino Holdings, an Ecclestone family trust.

SLEC owns FOH. The banks were contesting the appointment to the FOH board of Luc Argand and Emmanuele Argand-Rey two years ago, arguing that although the banks own the majority of the shares they do not have control because of the board's composition.

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