UK & World News

  • 20 February 2014, 12:07

Ecclestone Wins 'Corrupt Deal' High Court Case

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has won a multimillion-pound High Court battle over a deal with a German media company.

Mr Ecclestone had been accused of entering into a "corrupt agreement" with a banker to make it easier for the the sale of the Formula 1 Group to a buyer chosen by him.

Media group Constantin Medien claimed it had lost out because of the deal and was looking for £80m in compensation.

Mr Ecclestone, the boss of Formula 1 Group, said the claim lacked "any merit" and denied conspiracy.

The judge in charge of the case dismissed the claim, saying no loss to Constantin had been shown to have been caused.

But, in his ruling, Mr Justice Newey was critical of Mr Ecclestone.

The judge described the Formula 1 boss as not "reliable or truthful" and concluded that payments were made as a bribe.

"Even ... making allowances for the lapse of time and Mr Ecclestone's age, I am afraid that I find it impossible to regard him as a reliable or truthful witness," he said in a written ruling.

"The payments were a bribe. They were made because Mr Ecclestone had entered into a corrupt agreement with Dr Gribkowsky in May 2005."

The judge added: "No loss to Constantin has been shown to have been caused ... That fact is fatal to the claim."

Lawyers for Constantin Medien said payments totalling about £27m were made to Gerhard Gribkowsky - a "senior ranking official" at a German bank - on Mr Ecclestone's orders.

Constantin Medien plans to appeal.

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