"The sale of the racing team will burst because the wealthy investor behind the buyer Qadbak not exist." Switzerland's SonnentagZeitung concludes after an investigation of BMW's sale of its racing team to the mysterious "Swiss Foundation".
Soon after the sale was announced by BMW there were questions raised about the involvement of one Russell King (the portly man in the photo), a shady figure convicted of fraud in the UK in the 1990's. There were denials from BMW that Mr.King was involved in the Quabak deal . Now, according to the Swiss paper's investigation, this is not in fact the case and it turns out Quabak, rather than a "Swiss-Based foundation promoting the investment interests of Middle Eastern and European families" is more like a shady network of shell companies that all somehow lead back to King.
What's more, the bank that was the guarantor for the sale, Bahrain Capital International apparently has a fancy London address which tuns out to be shared with a number of other businesses and not to even its own phone! BCI was supposed to have the backing of the Bahrain royal family but that a'int happening leaving just.... a scam.
What's the scam? Well, if you can convince the FIA to let you in and if Sauber can come in as an existing team, you would then have access to a sizable slice of the Formula 1 revenue stream, about 40 million Euros.
Question I have about this story: is it so easy to scam some world class sharks? Was this BMW or Peter Sauber who in an effort to save the team might have been a bit too optimistic? Ferrari really agreed to an engine supply over such questions? Someone in the Middle East must have vouched for these guys at some point or did this Mr. King pull the same scam as Raffaello Follieri trading Cardinal costumes for sheik ones?