F1 'under investigation' for £3.9m payment to FIA after allegation of breach of the Bribery Act

MP Damian Collins has raised concerns to the Serious Fraud Office about the legitimacy of a payment from Formula 1's commercial rights holder to the governing body

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The Independent Online

The Serious Fraud Office is “reviewing material” after it emerged that Formula 1’s commercial rights holder paid the FIA £3.9m in a payment that may have breached the Bribery Act.

MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary select committee, has asked the SFO to investigate the payment that was made to the sport’s governing body.

The FIA has said that the payment was remuneration “for its regulatory role” as the governing body, and confirmed that the payment was not made to any individual.

The FIA deny any wrongdoing.

Collins brought the matter to the SFO after admitting that he was “very concerned” about the payment, which ITV have revealed is part of the Concorde Agreement that came into effect in 2013 between Formula 1’s commercial rights holders and the FIA.

"That's why I've written to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) asking them 'do they feel there was a breach of the Bribery Act and does it warrant investigation'?" said Collins.

The SFO have confirmed that an investigation has been triggered and that they are looking into the allegations.

An statement released on Friday read: "The Serious Fraud Office is reviewing material in its possession in relation to these allegations. All matters referred to the SFO are assessed against criteria to establish whether they may fall within its remit to investigate."

The FIA also released a statement to deny any wrongdoing, and insist that the payment has not broken any laws.

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Damian Collins MP raised his concerns to the Serious Fraud Office (Getty)

"The Concorde Implementation Agreement entered into by the commercial rights holder of Formula 1 and the FIA in 2013 introduced a new governance structure for Formula 1 and redefined certain conditions applicable to their relationship, in particular to ensure that the FIA be properly remunerated for its regulatory role.

"Within this agreement, a lump sum payment of $5m (£3.9m) was made to the FIA as part of the global consideration received in connection with the renegotiation of the terms of the agreements between the commercial rights holder and the FIA, and of the Concorde Agreement, at that time.

"Following its approval, the Concorde Implementation Agreement came into force and this sum was paid to the FIA and properly accounted for. No individual received any payment out of this sum. Any allegation to the contrary would be defamatory."

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