Court says HRT owner Carabante owes business partner EUR 47.5m

A Spanish arbitration court has ruled that HRT team owner Jose Ramon Carabante owes almost 50 million euros to a business partner. Mid last year, the payment dispute with Trinitario Casanova, from whom Carabante bought the Grupo Hispania in 2008,...

A Spanish arbitration court has ruled that HRT team owner Jose Ramon Carabante owes almost 50 million euros to a business partner.

Mid last year, the payment dispute with Trinitario Casanova, from whom Carabante bought the Grupo Hispania in 2008, emerged, with each claiming the other owes them multiple millions.

The Madrid commercial court La Corte y Mercantil de Arbitraje ruled a few days ago that Carabante pay EUR 47.5 million to Casanova within 20 days, according to the La Verdad newspaper.

But according to another report in the Spanish newspaper Expansion, "Trinitario and I came to an agreement before" the ruling, Carabante is quoted as saying.

In the same report, Carabante defended HRT's lacklustre debut season in 2010.

"We finished more races than many other teams, and Virgin, for instance - with a much higher budget - fell behind us," he insisted.

"At first it was said we would not be at the first race, then it was said we would last two races, then three, and finally we finished the season with dignity," added Carabante.

He also said HRT is close to reaching an agreement with an investor.

"We are in advanced negotiations for the entry of an international investor," he announced. "It would be for a minority of capital because I don't want to sell completely."

The Colin Kolles-led team said on Friday that it has "expanded (its) resources" for 2011 and is confident of "becoming more competitive".

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Colin Kolles