SBD/March 17, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Laying Down The Law: A Number Of Sports Entities Argue Their Cases In Court

Ecclestone may be key witness in one of Germany's biggest corruption scandals
F1 Management Chair BERNIE ECCLESTONE is “expected to be a key witness in what is being billed as one of the biggest corruption scandals in Germany’s history,” according to Eason, Boyes & Power of the LONDON TIMES. Prosecutors would question whether Ecclestone paid a $50M “‘kickback’ into the offshore accounts of a German banker who oversaw the sale” of F1 to majority owner CVC Capital Partners. Ecclestone “denies making illegal payments and is said to be willing to give his side of the story in Germany, although he is thought to want assurances that he will not be detained by the authorities in Munich if he co-operates.” CVC officials reportedly are “anxious not to get dragged into a legal action with the complex financial dealings of Formula One put in the spotlight” (LONDON TIMES, 3/17).

UNDER REVIEW: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Frances Bula reports “almost a quarter” of the original buyers of condos in the Vancouver Games Olympic Village “have filed lawsuits to get their money back, claiming their condos are not worth what they paid because they leak or the doors don’t work properly or the work is shoddy -- or all of the above.” Lawyer BRYAN BAYNHAM yesterday filed the suits “on behalf of 62 clients in five buildings.” Baynham said that the buyers “feel they were promised and paid for luxury suites, but received medium-quality apartments that they could never resell for the same price” (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/17).

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS: In Las Vegas, Steve Green notes former tennis players ANDRE AGASSI and STEFFI GRAF, among others, have “filed a second lawsuit over their investment in the Pure nightclub at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.” Agassi, Graf and the investors “first sued Pure Management Group in September, charging club executives mismanaged finances and used money from Pure to fund competing nightclubs.” The new lawsuit claims that on Oct. 29 -- after “the first suit was filed -- the Pure investors agreed to sell their interests for an undisclosed price in Touch LLC, the licensed owner of Pure” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 3/17).

SHINE ON: The GUARDIAN’s Mark Sweeney notes News Corp. is being sued by shareholders for “paying for nepotism" in its $675M deal to buy Shine, a production business owned by Chair & CEO RUPERT MURDOCH’s daughter ELISABETH. The deal, which “following regulatory approval is expected to close on 31 March, will see” Elisabeth take a seat on the News Corp BOD. The lawsuit accuses Rupert of treating News Corp "like a wholly owned family candy store" and argues that “a fair price was not achieved for Shine” (GUARDIAN, 3/17).
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