Sao Paulo - Brazilian auto racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi is drowning in
millions of dollars of debt, leading to the seizure of properties
including some of his old racecars, media reports said on Tuesday.
Fittipaldi, a two-time winner of both the Formula One world
championship and the Indianapolis 500, has racked up 27 million
Brazilian reals ($7.4 million) in debts and is facing more than 60
lawsuits in the Brazilian courts, TV Record reported.
Fittipaldi's creditors include banks, contractors and the owner of a
gas station who says the 69-year-old driver has an unpaid tab of more
than $16 000.
In a statement released by his publicists, Fittipaldi said he "never
hid his financial difficulties and has always been ready to negotiate
with his creditors."
He said his debts were smaller than his total wealth and that his
money troubles "are the result of the unstable financial and political
climate that all of Brazil is facing."
Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, is mired in a deep recession
and a political crisis triggered by a huge corruption scandal and moves
to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.
Fittipaldi's financial situation reportedly took a hit when he
promoted the Brazilian stage of the FIA World Endurance Championship
from 2012 to 2014 - a debt-laden gig, a close associate told newspaper
Estado de Sao Paulo.
When the championship pulled out of Brazil in 2015 because of Fittipaldi's financial troubles, his creditors took him to court.
Last week the courts seized the driver's cars from the 1976-1977 F1 season and his 1989 Indy 500 victory.