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Caterham saga: Fernandes hits out

Tony Fernandes the director of AirAsia, the chairman of Queens Park Rangers FC and founder of Caterham has hit out at Engavest.

Caterham's Formula One team could be set to be thrown into turmoil following a threat from the current management of the team.

On Tuesday the Caterham F1 teams manufacturer Caterham Sports Limited was placed into Administration.

Administrator Finbarr O'Connell have stated that 200 jobs are affected and up to £20million was owed to external suppliers.

As it is separate entity to the F1 team which is operated by 1 Malaysia Racing Team [1MRT], there was apparently no immediate risk to the Formula One team, despite both businesses being based at Leafield.

But due to their close ties there are obviously going to be large ramifications.

Ever since Tony Fernandes sold the Formula One team to a Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium in July rumours of financial problems have struck the team.

The new owners of Caterham have now gone public on who they are, after previously remaining anonymous. But the only reason behind 'Engavest SA' going public was to make accusation towards former owner Tony Fernandes.

Engavest SA are now exploring 'all options' and threatening legal action against Fernandes amid their claim that a share transfer wasn't completed.

They have also threatened that they will pull the plug on their involvement in the team.

However unsurprisingly Fernandes has hit back, giving his version of events which has now led to the very real scenario that Caterham could be absent from the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

“In June 2014, I decided, together with my co-shareholders, to sell my stake in the Caterham F1 team. We agreed in good faith to sell the shares to a Swiss company named 'Engavest' on the basis that Engavest undertook to pay all of the existing and future creditors, including the staff. The continued payment of staff and creditors was so important to me that I ensured that the shares would not be transferred to the new buyers unless they complied with this condition,' Fernandes said in a statement.

“Sadly, Engavest has failed to comply with any of the conditions in the agreement and Caterham Sports Ltd (the UK operating company of the F1 team) has had to be put into administration by the bank, with large sums owing to numerous creditors. Our agreement with Engavest was very clear: there was no legal obligation to transfer the shares to them unless certain conditions - which included paying creditors - were met. Those conditions have not been met. Our lawyers have asked Engavest several times to comply with these conditions but they have failed to engage.”

He added: “If you agree to buy a business, you must pay its bills. They have breached that promise and now, sadly, it is others such as the employees and the fans of the Caterham F1 team that will suffer if the team ceases to race. I sincerely hope that this will not be the case and that a solution can be found,”

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 24 2014

Time: 10:00AM


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