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Lotus documents reveal property investor owns 2% of the team

NEWS STORY
25/08/2013

Last month Pitpass reported on a remarkable U-Turn pulled off by the Lotus F1 team. In June it distributed a press release trumpeting that "Lotus F1 Team has new part-owners as of today" but in fact this was not the case.

It claimed that investment group Infinity Racing had bought a 35% stake in Lotus but several weeks after the press release had been written, Gerard Lopez, the founder of Genii Capital, the investment fund which majority owns the team, revealed that no shares had changed hands. Now another question mark about the press release has come to light.

When Lopez revealed that the sale had not gone through he said that the team was still in discussions with Infinity and it distributed the press release "because we had to; our group is a well-known group and we cannot just let things slip out." This of course does not explain why the press release needed to state that the team "has new part-owners" rather than saying that it was in negotiations with potential owners as was the case.

The press release also made the claim that the "Lotus F1 Team was previously 100% owned by an investment vehicle of Genii Capital" which came as a surprise to Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt. The reason for his surprise was that less than two months earlier Lopez had confirmed in writing to him that 2% of the team had been sold to British property developer Andrew Ruhan. Sylt revealed the news in the Daily Telegraph and it seems to conflict with the claim that the team "was previously 100% owned by an investment vehicle of Genii Capital" as the press release says.

So what is the truth? Does Ruhan really own 2% of Lotus or not?

On Friday the Lotus F1 team released its latest annual return which is a legal document showing its owners. As the following pdf shows, the document is dated 13 August 2013 and reveals that the 60700000 shares in the team are owned by the Luxembourg-based company Gravity Motorsports SARL.

The document on the left (click to enlarge) filed in June shows that 6.33% and 6% of Gravity Motorsports SARL was transferred by Gravity Racing International to two investment firms - Bluestone Securities and Latimore Finance respectively. In a nutshell, Bluestone Securities and Latimore Finance own 6.33% and 6% of the team.

Gravity Racing International is itself owned by Ikodomus and Espasande – two companies connected to Lopez and Lotus director Eric Lux. The document on the right (click to enlarge) filed before the share transfer was a return dated May and, after taking into account the allocation to Bluestone and Latimore, it leaves Gravity Racing International with 66.67% of the team. The return also shows that the investment firms Voltaire Group and Lenon Securities own 10% and 9% of the team respectively. That leaves 2% which, of course, is in the name of Andrew Ruhan.

So, there you have it. Ruhan does indeed own 2% of Lotus exactly as Sylt revealed back in May. It raises the question of why the Lotus press release claimed that the team was "100% owned by an investment vehicle of Genii Capital." By the looks of it, this was referring to Gravity Motorsports SARL which was a handy way of not needing to mention that Ruhan does indeed have a 2% stake in the team. It still remains to be seen why Lotus felt the need to say that the team "has new part-owners" when in fact it did not.

A story for another day perhaps?

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by petes, 27/08/2013 6:39

"I have to admit I find the information coming down on this smoke and mirrors outfit fascinating.
That rubber band binding this lot together must be getting pretty taut right now.
Kimi's prolly checking his bank balance frequently too, understandably.
Shouldn't be too long before Renault steps up to the plate?"

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