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MARCH 1, 2003

Walkinshaw criticised by judge

Tom Walkinshaw's problems are far from over. The boss of the now defunct Arrows F1 team and the TWR Group was heavily criticised by a High Court judge this week. Mr Justice Pumfrey delivered his judgement on the trial of the various preliminary issues in Morgan Grenfell's action against Arrows Grand Prix International and Tom Walkinshaw. The Judgement is now of little relevance to the Arrows situation but it is important for Walkinshaw personally as he could face having to pay $15.7m.

The judge ruled that documents signed by Walkinshaw in October 1999 bind him to personally meet certain liabilities of Arrows and ruled that he must pay Morgan Grenfell's costs which are believed to be around $600,000.

The judge said that after hearing Walkinshaw in the witness box he did not believe that Walkinshaw was dishonest but said that his behaviour was "below the standards to be expected of a reasonable businessman". The judge considered that Walkinshaw's evidence were on occasion "vague and unfocussed" and said that "Walkinshaw left me with a clear impression of a man who was in over his head. He appeared to lack the clarity of thought necessary to follow a clear policy. He obviously had a high opinion of his own business abilities, but my impression was different."

The judge ruled against Walkinshaw's claim that he had agreements from the two companies to reduce the debts and said that Walkinshaw had shown "wholesale disregard for the interests of Arrows Grand Prix's creditors".