Ecclestone wins Formula 1 damages case
20 February 2014 – Bernie Ecclestone has prevailed in the High Court case brought on by German media group Constantin Medien, which had been suing the Formula 1 supremo and other defendants for up to £85 million ($140 million) after claiming that it lost out during the sale of the sport to CVC Capital Partners back in 2006.
Although Mr Justice Newey concluded that Ecclestone, 83, had entered into a corrupt agreement with German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky – who is now serving an eight and a half year jail sentence over bribery charges – to facilitate the sale to a buyer of his choice, he said Constantin Medien suffered no financial losses as a result.
Lawyers for Constantin Medien made the argument that the eventual sale of German bank Bayern LB's shares to private equity firm CVC was undervalued, and that is was completed "without the normal and proper process".
Ecclestone, responding to allegations that he made a payment to finalise the deal, protested his innocence throughout the case and said he was "shaken down" by Gribkowsky, who had accused him of tax evasion.
Although Constantin Medien's accusations were dismissed, the company still has the right to appeal. In addition, Ecclestone will face another trial in Munich in April over charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust