9 December 2013
Hamilton: di Resta F1 drinks sponsorship deal was a scam
Anthony Hamilton has denied claims of lying while giving evidence during the hearing into claims of illegal dismissal by F1 driver Paul di Resta.
Anthony Hamilton has said that he was convinced that the sponsorship deal put his way by former client Paul di Resta was a con, but admits having lied to the company during negotiations.
Hamilton, father of 2008 world champion Lewis, is suing di Resta for breach of contract and loss of earnings after the Scot terminated the management deal amid claims of deception over the deal with energy drinks brand Go Fast. The Force India driver – who concedes that he may not have a seat in F1 next year – claims that Hamilton attempted to deceive him over the cost of acquiring the rights to drinks sponsorship from the team. Hamilton is alleged to have told the former DTM champion that the cost would be around €2m, but di Resta's own enquiry to Force India resulted in half that figure being quoted.
While Hamilton does not believe that there was any deception towards his client, he has now admitted lying to Go Fast, claiming that he already held the drinks rights, having purchased them from Force India. However, he insists that it was acceptable in the circumstances, as he believed that the prospective sponsor was lying to him.
“It was obviously a scam,” he told London's High Court, “Only in fiction do drivers who have made no name for themselves get offered a €21m deal. But I had an obligation on behalf of my client to pursue it. I was under huge pressure [and] it was a holding lie. I would be a dishonest man if I said I had never lied.”
Indeed, Hamilton had admitted to lying just one day earlier, insisting that it was also acceptable to distort the truth if it helped further a client's career.
"Sometimes, when a client has asked you to do so, [but], just to be clear, there is lying and there is swerving the truth," he had explained, using the example of negotiating with more than one team and exaggerating terms to get a better deal, "I don't do anything fraudulent, [and] I would never put my reputation on the line.
"In F1 there is a huge grapevine, [and] a lot of truths and untruths are spoken. A good manager is one who will fight for his client. If he has to tell a white lie, that seems sensible if he is trying to get the best deal for his driver."
Hamilton denies lying, however, over accusations that he falsified evidence presented in his case.
Responding to claims that he altered the dates on emails he submitted to the court, Hamilton insisted that the installation of a new security system at his home had been to blame, explaining that the system, which was linked to the iPad he used for correspondence, had 'regularly changed the times and dates' beyond his control.
The case is due to end next week.
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