Bernie Ecclestone has won his London High Court battle with a German media company, but despite victory the F1 boss was described as a “not reliable or truthful” witness by the judge in the case, Mr Justice Newey, who also ruled that the 83-year-old had paid a bribe over the sale of the Formula 1 Group.
Ecclestone had been accused of entering into a “corrupt agreement” with German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to facilitate the sale of the Formula 1 Group to a buyer chosen by him. Media group Constantin Medien alleged it lost out as a result of the deal and sought damages in excess of $100 million.
Ecclestone always maintained that Constantin’s allegations “lack any merit” and this morning the company’s claim was dismissed by the High Court.
However, in a written ruling, Justice Newey concluded that Ecclestone had paid a bribe when organising the sale of shares in F1 to private equity firm CVC.
“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,” the statement read.
“The payments were a bribe. They were made because Mr Ecclestone had entered into a corrupt agreement with Dr Gribkowsky in May 2005.”
However, the judge concluded that “no loss to Constantin has been shown to have been caused by the corrupt arrangement with Dr Gribkowsky. That fact is fatal to the claim”.
It is believed that Constantin Medien intends to appeal the decision.