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Bernie Ecclestone wins court case relating to F1 sale

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has won a High Court case relating to the sale of Formula 1 in 2005, but the court ruled the deal was corrupt.

A London judge dismissed the claim from German company Constantin Medien against Ecclestone over his involvement in the sale of the sport's rights to CVC nine years ago.

German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was jailed for eight and a half years for corruption over the agreement, which relates to a $44 million payment he received from Ecclestone at the time.

Judge Guy Newey said Ecclestone had paid the bribe to Gribkowsky, but dismissed Constantin Medien's claim that Ecclestone tried to undervalue Formula 1 in order to help the sale to CVC.

Constantin Medien had sued Ecclestone for up to $144 million.

"The payments were a bribe," judge Newey wrote in his conclusions.

"They were made because Mr Ecclestone had entered into a corrupt agreement with Dr Gribkowsky in May 2005 under which Dr Gribkowsky was to be rewarded for facilitating the sale of BLB's shares in the Formula One group to a buyer acceptable to Mr Ecclestone."

He added: "It was no part of Mr Ecclestone's purpose ... to be sold at an undervalue."

Ecclestone will stand trial in April in Germany after being indicted in July in connection to an alleged 45 million Euro bribe paid to Gribkowsky.

The 83-year-old stepped down from his role on Formula 1's management board last month following the news that he would stand trial.

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