FEBRUARY 6, 1995

Whatever happened to... Jean-Pierre Van Rossem

IN 1989 the Onyx F1 team was bought by unusual Belgian millionaire Jean-Pierre Van Rossem. He had the cars painted pink and blue and for a single F1 season was a regular figure in the F1 paddock, his long white hair and beard and his considerable girth, making him rather noticeable. The downturn in the world economy saw him sell the team at the start of 1990 to Swiss Peter Monteverdi and Van Rossem disappeared back to Belgium.

A year later he was in jail for fraud but once released he somehow managed to get himself elected to parliament. He then shocked Belgium by writing a guide to Belgian brothels and upset the royal family by making loud republican noises when parliamentarians were taking their oaths of allegiance to King Albert II. Van Rossem is in the news again, having been sentenced to five years in jail for fraud. He remains at liberty thanks to his parliamentary immunity to prosecution, although this is expected to be lifted shortly. Van Rossem paid for his F1 team using money from his Moneytron investment scheme which former clients say lost them AUS$200 million...