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Formula One was 'a mistake': oil fund head

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Formula One was 'a mistake': oil fund head
Formula One cars. Photo: Flickr/CoreMedia Product Demo
16:49 CET+01:00
The head of Norway's oil fund has said that he wishes Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had been "formally suspended" pending his trial for bribery in Germany.
"We are of course not happy with the situation that has arisen. What’s especially unfortunate are the corruption charges,” Mr Slyngstad told Norway's Dagens Næringsliv newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday. 
 
Yngve Slyngstad, the chief executive of the $850bn fund, is coming under increasing pressure in Norway over the $300m investment in Formula One he made in 2012. 
 
The investment followed a change in the rules governing the fund's investments, which allowed it to invest in non-pubic companies so long as the companies were planning an IPO.
 
Formula One, however, has now had its listing on hold for nearly two years.  
 
"Yes, we made a mistake", Slyngstad told the paper in an interview on Tuesday.  
 
"We have zero tolerance for corruption," he added. "[If] it is clear that this case is not handled properly, then we would not want to be an owner. In this case, we would not sit on these shares."
 
In February, UK judge Guy Newey ruled that Ecclestone had paid bribes to a German banker during the 2005 sale of a stake in Formula One, adding that he found it "impossible to regard him [Ecclestone] as a reliable or truthful witness". 
 
The Formula One founder now faces a corruption trial in Germany over the deal. 
 
Terje Breivik, finance spokesman for Norway's minority Liberal Party, last week said that the fund should sell its stake now no IPO was now planned. 
 
Slyngstad, however, denied that the IPO plans had been called off. 
 
"The intention is still to list the company quickly when it is possible to do so," he told the paper. 
 
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