Liberty could face Commons Select Committee

20/07/2017
NEWS STORY

Following the Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) recent confirmation of a thorough examination" of the agreements between Formula One and the FIA, Damian Collins, the chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee, has revealed that, whatever the outcome, F1's new owners could find themselves in front of a Commons Select Committee

"If we reach a point where the SFO decide not to launch a full investigation, then the committee could look at it as well," Collins told City A.M.

"That's probably a decision we'll take in the autumn and I think in the meantime it is probably right we give the SFO time to look at the issues we put in front of them. I know they have access to all the relevant documents relating to the deal."

At the heart of the SFO's investigation is the 3.9m payment made to the FIA, which it is claimed is in breach of bribery laws, a claim dismissed by the FIA which insists the payment was in lieu of its "regulatory role".

"To the FIA's knowledge, the serious fraud office has not launched any investigation concerning the FIA," said a spokesperson for the sport's governing body, "however, the FIA would naturally be happy to cooperate with any competent authority that may make any request for information."

Nonetheless, Collins insists the payment throws up "a lot of very challenging and difficult questions".

"When I saw the documents and the agreements; I felt there were lots of questions that were raised about the sequences of events and the way in which decisions were being made," he told City A.M. "And that's why I wrote to the SFO because I felt they should look at it properly to see if there had been a breach of the law."

"I'll be very interested to see what conclusions they will come to because they have the legal power and authority to investigate this and therefore to demand to see and secure other documents that may be relevant to their understanding of what went on.

"As we've seen with FIFA and other bodies, the law is the law," he insisted, "and if people think there has been a breach of the law that should be properly investigated."

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Published: 20/07/2017
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