Ecclestone wins latest legal battle

Ecclestone wins latest legal battle
Bernie Ecclestone

Formula 1 motorsport boss Bernie Ecclestone has won the latest round of a legal fight with a German media company.

In February, a High Court judge dismissed a claim for around £80m (€102m) in damages by Constantin Medien after a trial in London.

And a Court of Appeal judge refused today to allow Constantin to challenge that decision.

Constantin accused Mr Ecclestone of entering into a ”corrupt agreement” with a banker to facilitate the sale of the Formula 1 Group to a buyer chosen by him.

The company said it had lost out as a result.

Mr Ecclestone disputed Constantin’s claim.

Lawyers for Constantin told the High Court that payments totalling about €27 million were made to Gerhard Gribkowsky - who was a ''senior-ranking official'' at a German bank - at the instigation of Mr Ecclestone.

And they said a ”corrupt arrangement” was entered into between Mr Ecclestone and Dr Gribkowsky in 2005.

Mr Ecclestone said Constantin’s claim lacked ”any merit” and denied any conspiracy.

He said he paid Dr Gribkowsky £10m (€12m) because the banker had insinuated that he would create difficulties with tax authorities.

Mr Justice Newey had concluded in February that payments made were a ”bribe”.

He said they were made because Mr Ecclestone had entered into a ”corrupt agreement” with the banker in 2005.

But he said no loss to Constantin had been proved and therefore the company’s claim failed.

Appeal court judge Lord Justice Patten today refused to give Constantin permission to mount an appeal against Mr Justice Newey's ruling.

He said he had analysed legal argument put forward by Constantin and concluded that an appeal would have “no real prospect of success”.

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