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DATE News (chronologically)
11/25/09
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Briatore blasts FIA hearings as a sham UPDATE #2 (GMM)  The outcome of Flavio Briatore's legal action against his lifetime FIA ban should be declared on 5 January, Paris' Tribune de Grande Instance said on Tuesday following a hearing.

The 59-year-old Italian, nor his former Renault colleague Pat Symonds who was banned for five years and is appealing his own penalty, attended the proceedings.

The outcome will have implications for Briatore's role as a co-owner and director of the London club Queens Park Rangers, due to the governing Football League's "fit and proper persons" rule.

As well as the annulment of the ban, he is seeking 1 million euros in damages.

Briton Symonds' lawyer Dominique Dumas indicated that the 56-year-old was under pressure when he earlier accepted some responsibility for Nelson Piquet's Singapore 2008 crash.

"Symonds' responsibility shouldn't be taken for granted," Dumas is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

11/24/09 Former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore has revealed that he has ‘every confidence’ that the effective lifetime ban he received from the top flight for his role in the ‘Singapore-gate’ race-fixing scandal will be overturned by the French High Court today (Tuesday).

The Italian was barred indefinitely from all aspects of the sport – including driver management – by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) two months ago, for being deemed guilty as charged of having instructed Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, thereby inducing a safety car period that enabled team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in F1’s inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid position following an engine failure in qualifying.

However, Briatore was not present at the WMSC reunion to hear his fate, and he has accused the FIA and more specifically the governing body’s recently-departed president Max Mosley of presiding over something akin to a kangaroo court, claiming the decision to ban him had already been made even before the hearing.

He has also suggested that the Englishman – with whom he has rarely seen eye-to-eye, particularly at the height of the FIA/FOTA civil war during the summer – essentially took advantage of the opportunity to force him out in a form of personal revenge.

The 59-year-old has described his unprecedented penalty as a ‘legal absurdity’ and has berated the FIA for what he regards as a ‘deliberate breach of the rights of defense’, a ‘breach of the rules of natural justice’ and a ‘manifest excess and abuse of power’. His legal team contend that the WMSC’s procedures were against both the FIA International Sporting Code and French law.

Aside from the abolition of his ban, Briatore is also seeking up to €1 million in damages to his reputation, and an official publication of the Tribunal de Grande Instance’s ruling, even though he himself is not expected to attend the Paris appeal.

“I have every confidence that the French courts will resolve the matter justly and impartially,” he asserted in a statement, published by the BBC.

Should Briatore’s punishment stand, he may find himself removed from the executive board of London club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) for being in violation of the Football League’s ‘fit and proper person test’, which stipulates that someone in such a prominent position must not be ‘subject to a ban from involvement in the administration of a sport by a sport’s governing body’.

Erstwhile Renault F1 executive director of engineering pat Symonds is similarly due to appeal his own five-year ban at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in the French capital. Yahoo! EuroSport UK

11/16/09 Disgraced former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore has branded the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing into the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal a 'sham hearing' whose outcome was pre-decided by 'secret negotiations'.

Briatore was found guilty in absentia of the charges against him – that he instructed then Renault driver Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to prompt a safety car period that enabled team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in the top flight's inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid position – and as a penalty banned from the sport indefinitely, including from his role as a driver-manager.

The outspoken Italian plans to fight his punishment in a special High Court hearing in Paris next week – along with erstwhile Renault F1 executive director of engineering Pat Symonds, who for a similar crime received a five-year ban – and he has accused former FIA President Max Mosley of having sought to exact 'personal revenge' on him for the pair's well-documented differences [see separate story – click here], highlighted most obviously by the bitter FIA/FOTA civil war that threatened for much of the summer to tear the sport quite literally in two.

Not only is Briatore bidding to get his ban overturned, but he is also endeavoring to claim €1 million for damage to his reputation as a result of the WMSC ruling. The FIA has condemned the 'selective leaking' of parts of the 59-year-old's case against the governing body – but the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) co-director is adamant that he has nothing to hide.

“The FIA neglects to mention that, according to declarations by one of its own vice-presidents to the media, the world council's decision was rather the outcome of secret negotiations on the eve of the sham hearing,” Briatore is quoted as having said in a statement, similarly rejecting the governing body's claim that the decision was reached by an 'overwhelming' majority of WMSC voting members.

The vice-president in question was not named, but Mohamed Ben Sulayem had told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National in the aftermath of the hearing that 'we are not here to hang teams, we did our negotiations before and everybody is happy with the result'. crash.net

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