Force India's sale to a consortium led by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll over the summer break has been challenged by failed bidder Uralkali in the London High Court.
Dmitry Mazepin, father of Force India development driver and GP3 racer, is a non-executive director at Uralkali and was one of the interested parties that was looking to purchase the Silverstone-based squad after it entered administration.
However, his bid was turned away by administrators FRP Advisory, who opted for the terms offered by Stroll. Uralkali says that Stroll's bid was “significantly inferior" to Uralkali's.
The company said in a statement: “Despite Uralkali’s generous offer for the business and assets, which we believe was the best bid on the table, the administrators chose to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with another bidder and subsequently refused to reengage with Uralkali.”
Uralkali has accused FRP Advisory of not recognising that their bid was higher, “misrepresentations and lack of transparency” in the process of bidding and “failing to achieve the maximisation of sale proceeds for the benefit of creditors, shareholders and other stakeholders”.
However, both Force India and FRP Advisory say they have no knowledge of any legal action filed against them. On Thursday morning, FRP Advisory released a statement adding some clarity to the situation.
"The Joint Administrators to Force India Formula One Team Limited note that Uralkali issued a press release this morning detailing how a claim has been issued against us in High Court in London. No such claim has been received by us or, as far as we are aware, by the Court.
"If a claim is issued it will be defended vigorously. We have fulfilled our statutory duties as administrators throughout this process and ultimately achieved a very successful outcome for all stakeholders. Any legal action brought against us will be defended vigorously, and we are confident it would be dismissed."
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