JUNE 27, 2008

Some more background to the Mosley Scandal

In recent weeks The Times has become the conduit for the thoughts of Bernie Ecclestone, while Max Mosley has generally kept quiet and said nothing, hoping that silence, coupled with some populist policies, will come across as presidential behaviour and help to rebuild his damaged image. To be fair The Times has done a balanced job in very difficult circumstances.

It has been clear from the start that the Mosley Scandal did not happen by accident. The story has on occasion drifted into a shadowy world of dominatrices, spies and private security firms. The suggestion has always been that someone set Mosley up. This may be true, but thus far we have seen no hard evidence that this is the case.

The latest story in The Times suggests that Ecclestone had nothing to do with organising the Mosley Scandal, as has been hinted at in recent weeks. It even says that Bernie warned Mosley that there were people out to get him. This is a credible claim given the friendship of the two men. The newspaper says that Ecclestone discovered that there was a plot to bring down Mosley from Dean Attew. He is a former employee of the Formula One group who started a security company called Titon International in 2004. Attew claimed that he was contacted in the third week of January this year by someone he knew representing unnamed people who wanted Mosley removed from office and publicly discredited. He claims that he was told there was "an open budget." However, after the initial contact there was no follow-up and Attew reckons that the approach was to establish whether he had any loyalty to Mosley.

Obviously he did, because he told Ecclestone and says that Ecclestone told Mosley.

Attew's story does not make a great deal of sense as there is little logic in anyone who is out to get Mosley approaching a known associate of Ecclestone, knowing that Ecclestone and Mosley had been friends for 40 years. That would be tantamount to telling Mosley directly - as, indeed, it proved to be.

However the story in The Times is clearly designed to deliver a message and to back-up last week's assertion from Ecclestone that he was not involved with the plot against Mosley.

Attew says that it is "ridiculous" to suggest that Ecclestone is involved in the plot and he says that Mosley and the FIA should have said as much, rather than allowing rumours to circulate in F1 circles. The underlying implication is that Mosley is using the intrigue to keep the FIA membership focussed on a threat to the federation rather than the question of whether or not he should still be in office. One might read this as being colluson between Mosley and Ecclestone. Having said that every other source is saying that the pair are now at odds with one another. The article refers to Attew and Mosley having had a conversation after the scandal began, during which, The Times says, "Mosley conveyed to him [Attew] detailed personal information about his private life".

The newspaper said that Attew did not wish to disclose this information, which obviously means that there are things in this affair that are still not in the public domain.

The sport has already suffered enormously and there are many who want it to stop. There are some who say they support one or the other, but a lot of people are simply sitting on the fence waiting to see whether Mosley and Ecclestone will end up taking each other out. One would think that the duo are more intelligent than that, but circumstances may now have put them into positions which offer them no other choices.