Ecclestone Says Alleged U.S. Dollar F-1 Bribe Not Under U.S. Law

The U.K.’s Bernie Ecclestone, accused of paying a bribe to steer a Formula One racing stake to CVC Capital Partners Ltd., says U.S. dollar wire transfers from a Swiss bank to an Austrian bank don’t give U.S. courts jurisdiction in the case, as the plaintiff claimed.

Bluewaters Communications Holdings LLC, newly incorporated in New York, sued Ecclestone in Manhattan in November for $650 million, saying it was the high bidder for shares in the racing company, which it values at $10 billion. Asking a U.S. judge to take the case, the investment firm cited the U.S. dollar transfers, also arguing that its lawsuit falls under New York law because Ecclestone’s refusal of its bid caused a loss of business in the state.

That “newly minted claim” doesn’t bestow jurisdiction on a New York court either, as Bluewaters is suing the F-1 chief over an alleged bribe, not over a loss of business in New York, Ecclestone said in an April 5 filing in state court in Manhattan, reiterating that he isn’t subject to U.S. law as he has no residence or business in the country.

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