Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone told a British High Court judge yesterday that he did not make threats.
Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula One Group, was giving evidence at a High Court trial in London after being accused of making a “corrupt bargain” to stay at the top of Formula One racing.
He has been accused of entering into a “corrupt agreement” with a banker eight years ago to facilitate the sale of the Formula One group to a buyer chosen by him.
A German media company says that it lost out as a result of the deal and has taken legal action against Ecclestone.
However, Ecclestone says that Constantin Medien’s claim “lacks any merit”, and he completely denies any conspiracy.
“I am not a person that threatens,” Ecclestone told Mr Justice Newey.
“If I was going to do something, I would do [it]. I wouldn’t threaten.”
Ecclestone, who was giving evidence for a third day, has told the court that he paid Gerhard Gribkowsky — a senior official at a German bank — £10m (€12m).
He said he made the payment because he was “being shaken down” by Gribkowsky, who had insinuated that he would create difficulties with tax authorities.
Ecclestone added: “He was desperately trying to do business with me. He wanted to leave the bank.”
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