Report: FIA head says he's victim; Nazi implications in sex scandal are false

Updated: April 5, 2008, 7:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MANAMA, Bahrain -- Motor racing chief Max Mosley, fighting to keep his job after a sex scandal, defended his behavior on Saturday and said he was "the victim of a disgusting conspiracy."

Mosley, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), wrote in a letter addressed to Peter Meyer, head of Germany's ADAC Automobile Club and seen by Reuters, that his actions had been "harmless and completely legal."

The letter was also circulated to all members of the world governing body, as well as the FIA's World Motor Sport Council and Senate.

"Had I been caught driving excessively fast on a public road or over the alcohol limit [even in, say, Sweden where it is very low], I should have resigned the same day," Mosley wrote.

"As it is, a scandal paper obtained by illegal means pictures of something I did in private which, although unacceptable to some people, was harmless and completely legal.

"Many people do things in their bedrooms or have personal habits which others find repugnant. But as long as they keep them private, nobody objects."

Mosley, 67, is suing British Sunday tabloid newspaper The News of the World for unlimited damages for publishing last weekend revelations about his involvement in a sado-masochistic orgy with prostitutes.

The British Sunday's spokeswoman, Hayley Barlow, said in a statement that the News of the World stood by its story and would "vigorously defend all legal action brought by Mr. Mosley."

On Saturday, the American Automobile Association joined in as another group that wants Mosley to resign.

"AAA recognizes that Mr. Mosley has dedicated many years of his life to advancing the interests of mobility and motorsport. However, after careful consideration, AAA has conveyed to Mr. Mosley that it would be in the best interest of all concerned if he were to step down," the AAA said in a statement released Saturday.

The American body, which represents over 50 million motorists, is the first to publicly demand Mosley step down. Federations from Germany, the Netherlands and Israel have all criticized Mosley as have four major car manufacturers.

AAA called the events "very distressing and embarrassing."

"While this matter may be viewed as private by some, the damage to the image of FIA and its constituents is clearly public. For an organization -- and its leader -- to exercise the moral authority required to represent millions of motorists and sanction the activities of motorsport they must uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior," AAA said.

Mosley, whose late father, Oswald, founded the pre-war British Union of Fascists, has denied any Nazi connotations to the affair.

Formula One's German and Japanese carmakers and some national motorsport federations have called on him to step down. Germany's ADAC issued a statement on Friday advising Mosley "to carefully consider his position."

Mosley has said that he had received support from 20 FIA clubs and representatives of 50 others.

"The offense seems to be not what I did but the fact that it became public," Mosley wrote in his letter. "But I played no role in this, indeed I did my utmost to ensure it remained private. I was the victim of a disgusting conspiracy.

"It goes without saying that the so-called Nazi element is pure fabrication. This will become crystal clear when the matter comes to trial. The newspaper invented this in order to spice up their story and introduce my family background."

"I don't think any of this should affect my work on motoring safety, the environment or the sport," he continued.

"I believe that 21st century adults do not worry about private sexual matters as long as they are legal and harmless. I shall put this view to the [FIA] Assembly in due course."

On Thursday, Mosley called for an extraordinary meeting of the world motorsports governing body, to be held in Paris at the earliest possible date, which has not been determined yet.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters were used in this report.

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