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F1 2022

Former Lotus F1 Team owners facing criminal charges

The founders of Genii Capital and former owners of the Lotus F1 Team, Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux, are facing charges of forgery in Luxembourg.

The founders of Genii Capital and former owners of the Lotus F1 Team, Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux, are facing charges of forgery in Luxembourg.

First reported in Luxembourg newspaper D'Lëtzebuerger Land, investigations have taken place to analyse the transfer of funds between Lotus F1, a Luxembourg football club and a Hong Kong-based investment company. Both Lopez and Lux have denied the forgery charges.

Lopez has been the owner and chairman of Luxembourg football club CS Fola Esch since 2007.

Investment firm Genii Capital purchased the Enstone-based Formula 1 team (currently badged Alpine F1 Team) in 2009 from the Renault Group.

They ran the team under the Renault and Lotus names, with Lopez eventually becoming Team Principal, until 2015 when they sold their major shareholding back to the Renault Group.

According to The Guardian, a spokesperson said: "Luxembourg public prosecutor's office has asked the Luxembourg district court sitting in chambers to refer Mr Lopez to a criminal court. The offences in question are forgery and use of forgeries."

A spokesperson for Lopez said: "[Mr Lopez] categorically denies the allegations against him. He is confident that the [court in chambers], which has yet to hear his position, will clear his name. The [court] is yet to rule on whether to hold a trial or dismiss these proceedings."

Genii maintain sponsorship ties with Alpine

Genii Capital had previously been a majority shareholder in the Enstone-based team, running the business from 2009 to 2015, and operating under the Renault and Lotus names in that time.

Their foray into the sport yielded two race victories (with Kimi Raikkonen in 2012 and 2013), but their decline resulted into Genii selling their majority shareholding back to Renault in 2015.

They perhaps became better-known for their part in the Lotus vs Lotus debacle in 2011, where two teams battled it out for the use of the iconic name. Their 'black Lotus' won the battle over 'green Lotus', with their opponents rebadging to Caterham for 2012.

Genii Capital still held a minority shareholding until February 2022, with their remaining stake in Alpine Racing Limited also bought out by the Renault Group.

Genii still maintain commercial ties with the Alpine team, with their logo placed towards the rear of the engine cover of the A522.

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