Judge rules against Ecclestone

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The dispute between Bernie Ecclestone and the banks continued in court on December 6th, where the judge ruled that the banks, known collectively as Speed Investments, were correct in their "contentions". The banks, Bayerische Landesbank, JP...

The dispute between Bernie Ecclestone and the banks continued in court on December 6th, where the judge ruled that the banks, known collectively as Speed Investments, were correct in their "contentions". The banks, Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers, own 75% of SLEC, Formula One's commercial holding company, and an Ecclestone trust owns the other 25%.

Speed Investments was contesting appointments to the board of directors of Formula One Holdings (FOH) on the basis that although Speed owns 75% of SLEC, it does not have control of who sits on the board of directors, and thus is unable to direct decisions and operations of FOH.

"In my judgement it is clear that Speed's contentions are correct and I should therefore make the declarations which it requests," said Justice Andrew Clark at the start of proceedings. The hearing is ongoing, so what the full judgement might include is not yet known.

Ecclestone appeared unconcerned. "Nothing at all," he told Reuters when asked what the ruling meant to him. He went on to suggest that the legal dispute was the banks trying to increase the value of their shares.

"The banks, they want to get out," he commented. "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."

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

What, exactly, the ruling means to Formula One is yet to be seen. The banks have been awarded the right to have their say in the running of F1 but Ecclestone remains at the helm. Reports suggest that Speed is intending further legal action to try and take control of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , F1