There is no doubting that the story behind the Mosley saga has more twists than an early episode of Taggart. Talking of which, has anyone else noticed Robert Kubica's remarkable resemblance to Blythe Duff (DS Jackie Reid) (right)?
Anyway, according to The Times (where else?), Dean Attew, a "London-based business intelligence consultant" who used to work for the Formula One Group, contacted Bernie Ecclestone in late January to warn him that an outside party was out to get the dirt on Max Mosley in a clear attempt to humiliate him and drive the FIA President from office.
Attew, who now runs Titon International, a corporate intelligence company, tells the newspaper: "In January this year I received a call from a friend. We had a meeting and I was approached and told there was an open budget to effectively go out and source material that would bring Max to his knees and, more importantly, remove him from office and discredit him publicly."
Well, as we all know, Max was brought to his knees... and after being told he'd been a very naughty boy in a dodgy Allo 'Allo German accent was given a smack on the bum, a cup of tea and a Hobnob.
"During the conversation I said to the guy, 'What's your budget?'" Attew continues, "and he said, 'It's an open budget,' and I said, 'OK, be specific here, are you after Max, are you after the FIA or are you after Bernie?' They then went back and they came back a little while later and said, 'We are not going to pursue it for the time being.' The person contacted me because they knew of my relationship with Bernie but did not know of my relationship with Max. The reason they contacted me was to find out whether I had any loyalty to Max and whether I knew anything of value."
Attew subsequently went to Ecclestone. "When I sat down with Bernie I said to him, 'Is there anything anyone is going to find out about Max?'" says Attew. "And Bernie said, 'Dean, you are not going to find anything because there's nothing there - he's Mr Boring in that sense.' Mosley had kept this a good secret."
Believe that if you will. Fact is, Ecclestone is the first to admit that Max has been his very good friend for forty years, and if the F1 supremo didn't have the merest inkling about what turned Mosley on, far less considered him "Mr Boring", then the two were clearly not as close as they would have us believe. While the rest of us might not have known what floats Max's boat, Ecclestone must have had a slight idea, even if he wasn't aware of the sordid specifics.
In the last week, amidst growing speculation, Ecclestone has denied playing any part in exposing Mosley, and now, as the battle for F1 hots up, a former employee backs him up. Indeed, Attew goes further, claiming that not only did Ecclestone warn Mosley, but that, according to the FIA President, the Englishman was tipped off by another party.
Claiming that Mosley was aware that something was afoot, having been warned by Ecclestone and A. N. Other, Attew claims that he finds it strange that the finger of suspicion for the sting should now be pointed at the F1 supremo.
"I hear things about people suggesting Bernie was behind this, but that is ridiculous," says Attew. "From the very first indication Bernie and I, with Max's knowledge, have tried to find out who was the source."
Attew also claims to be frustrated and angry that Mosley ignored the warnings.
"It was very clear that Max had disregarded both the advice he had been given and had failed to realise his vulnerability at that stage," says Attew. "The issue for me was his total disregard for genuine advice from individuals that he knew had his best interests at heart. When we saw what was in the News of the World, Bernie was as flabbergasted as I was."
"Flabbergasted" is not a word that readily comes to mind when one thinks of Ecclestone, a scrapper of the first order. Mosley, on the other hand, is a highly intelligent man, are we really to believe that he would walk into such a trap having been warned by at least two sources? Yes, he is arrogant, and that in itself can lead to stupid mistakes. However, having been tipped off, and being fully aware that he does have enemies in the F1 paddock, are we to believe that Mosley would not take things a little more carefully?
Finally, doesn't this all have a touch too much of 'the lady doth protest too much' about it?
Or, to put it another way… "nuffink to do wiv me mate, 'onest!"