Date: 20th February 2014 at 11:02am
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A judge has ruled in favour Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in a case brought against him by German media group Constantin Medien.

Ecclestone has previously been questioned as part of a police investigation into a multi-million pound bribery scandal and had been accused of entering into a ‘corrupt agreement’ with German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

The case which was in direct relation to Formula One’s sale to private equity firm CVC back in 2006 has already seen Gerhard Gribkowsky jailed for more than eight years for tax evasion, breach of trust and taking £28 million in bribes during the sale of F1, following a trial in Germany.

Gribkowsky, who at the time was overseeing the sale of BayernLB’s stake in F1 had been accused of selling a 48% stake in Formula One without legal valuations while receiving an apparent $50million bribe disguised via consultancy agreements.

That sale according to Media company Constantin Medien cost the company millions as they had been set to receive 10% if the stake in the company had sold for more than $1.1billion, but received nothing as CVC only paid $814million.

Constantin Medien went on to sue Ecclestone for $140million [the original claim had been $171million].

Bernie had always claimed the legal action lacked merit and he and his co-defendants deny the claims of wrongdoing.

But whilst Mr Justice Newey, in the High Court in London dismissed the claim, he said Ecclestone did pay a bribe over a sale of F1 shares. However this wasn’t done to devalue shares and as such the claim by Constantin Medien was rejected.

“No loss to Constantin has been shown to have been caused by the corrupt arrangement,” the judge said.

“The payments were a bribe. They were made because Mr Ecclestone had entered into a corrupt agreement with Dr Gribkowsky on May 2005 under which Dr Gribkowsky was to be rewarded for facilitating the sale of BLB’s shares in the F1 Group to a buyer acceptable to Mr Ecclestone.

“Mr Ecclestone’s aim was to be rid of the banks. He was strongly averse to their involvement in the F1 Group and was keen that their shares should be transferred to someone more congenial to him.”

The German media company have said they will appeal the decision.