South East Wales

Circuit of Wales directors accused of false finance claims

Circuit of Wales artist impression Image copyright Circuit of Wales

Directors behind the Circuit of Wales project have been accused of making false claims about financial backing.

Monmouth MP David Davies wants chief executive Michael Carrick and Martin Whitaker to allow him to release a recording of their meeting.

He said they made false claims about securing backing from BMW, and General Electric (GE) for a separate project.

In a strongly-worded letter, their solicitor said Mr Davies' assertions are "a mere fiction".

The MP claimed Mr Carrick falsely said he "brought in capital" from GE to another project in Fleetwood, Lancashire, when asked about his ability to draw funds.

However, the company said it had not offered any funding.

Also, he claimed Mr Whitaker said BMW offered backing to the Ebbw Vale racetrack project, despite the company saying "at no point" had it developed any plans.

Mr Carrick is a director of the Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOVDC), which is behind the £425m proposals.

It received a £2m Welsh Government grant in 2012 and paid another company of which he is director of, Aventa Capital Partners Limited, nearly £1m.

When asked about this payment by BBC Wales last year, he said it was for "services".

Image copyright Heads of the Valleys Corp

Mr Davies met the pair last year - which is when he said Mr Carrick told him Aventa had "brought in capital" for another regeneration scheme - a tidal barrage on the River Wyre, in Fleetwood, Lancashire.

"I asked for an example [of companies involved] and Michael says 'GE'," Mr Davies said.

"I asked 'do you mean General Electric?' and he said 'correct'."

But in a letter seen by BBC Wales, GE said it "did not offer any funding" and while it discussed technical aspects of the project, it offered "nothing more than that".

Mr Davies also said Mr Whitaker - chief executive of the company that will run the track if built - claimed he had a "big meeting" with BMW, who wanted to put a "a BMW World, a bit like Jurassic Park" on the site.

But the company told Mr Davies at no point had it developed any such plans.

'Mere fiction'

The MP said: "They've made claims which simply don't stack up and they've made claims that my version of what happened didn't happen, effectively accusing me of lying.

"It didn't occur to them that before I made the claims, with the accuracy with which I made them, that I might have recorded the whole meeting."

A letter from solicitors representing Mr Carrick said no such assertions were made about BMW and neither was Mr Davies told GE had put money into Aventa.

It read: "The claim made by Mr Davies that he was told by my clients that 'BMW wanted to build a BMW World theme park' on the Circuit of Wales site; my client made no such assertion - as corroborated by their notes of the meeting with Mr Davies.

"It follows then that the alleged 'discrepancy' is a mere fiction of which Mr Davies is the author.

"As to the claim that Mr Davies was told that 'GE had put money into Aventa for a major renewable energy project on the River Wyre in Lancashire', he was told no such thing."

Mr Davies replied: "My challenge to Michael Carrick and Martin Whitaker is very simple - there's no law about having made a recording.

"There could be a question about releasing it without the agreement of all those who were at the meeting.

"I want to release this, I want to show everyone what took place there and allow people to judge what is and what is not in context and what did happen."

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