With less than a week to go before his vote of confidence in Paris, Max Mosley, has given the starkest signal yet of his intention to stay in power – the embattled FIA president rejecting a last-minute compromise deal from the FIA while launching legal action against the News of the World in France.
Admidst fears that the extraordinary General Assembly meeting next Tuesday would damage the FIA’s credibility, Franco Lucchesi, the governing body’s deputy president, and Region 1 president Werner Kraus tried to put a deal before Mosley asking him to step down in November 2008 in return for a vote of confidence.
The compromise, outlined in a leaked letter to members of the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism, claimed that that the deal was offered to try and bury issue before next week’s crunch vote.
Franco Lucchesi told members: “The compromise would have implied a renewed and unanimous confidence declaration towards President Mosley, together with a written communication from the President himself announcing his intention to resign starting from November 2008.”
“The President would have left almost all public representation of the FIA to the two Deputy Presidents. This compromise would have prevented us from being divided on a confidence vote that the WCAM&T members esteemed to be negative in any case.”
In the letter Lucchesi explains how he and Kraus had tried to relay the fears to Mosley, who has since reiterated his intention to stay on as FIA president until 2009.
Lucchesi added: “Though acknowledging the worries expressed and the proposed solution, President Mosley reiterated his intention of requesting a confidence vote for reasons already summarised in the recent letter he sent to all the FIA Club Presidents. We could do nothing but take note of his determination.”
Legal proceedings begin…
Meanwhile, in France, Mosley has begun legal action against the News of the World over the lurid sex sting that resulted in the publication of details about his private life.
French lawyer Philippe Ouakrat told French daily newspaper L’Equipe that he and his colleagues had filed a criminal rather than a civil lawsuit on two counts: the violation of Mosley’s private life and the insinuation that his involvement in the orgy had ‘Nazi’ connotations.
“The possibility of a criminal action in addition to the civil action is extremely significant,” said Mr Ouakrat. “Ranged against us is the (Rupert) Murdoch press group, and we are well aware that he makes provisions in his finances to cope with the subsequent costs involved from personalities who take him to court.”
“In this case, the newspaper has plumbed the depths with a strategy of extremely violent and targeted attack. There is a characteristic desire to cause harm. The intention is clear: destroy Max Mosley as President of the FIA, the headquarters of which is in Paris.”