F1’s Bernie Ecclestone may be sued again once bribery case ends

 

Bernie Ecclestone is facing the prospect of another major lawsuit which could threaten his position in Formula One’s driving seat if he loses his current High Court battle, The Independent can disclose.

In the final few days of the court hearing last month, it came to light that a new lawsuit claiming $400m (£244m) from the motor-racing tycoon is due to be filed within weeks.

Mr Ecclestone told The Independent that he thinks the new claim will get thrown out if he wins the ongoing case. But he vowed to fight the new suit if it goes ahead.

German media rights firm Constantin Medien claimed in court that Mr Ecclestone and his Bambino family trust paid a $44m bribe to undervalue a 47.2 per cent stake in F1 when it was sold by German bank BayernLB to private equity firm CVC in 2006.

The money was paid to BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky and Constantin says that in return he steered the sale of F1 to CVC as it had agreed to retain Mr Ecclestone as the sport’s chief executive.

CVC bought the stake for $814m but Constantin says other buyers would have paid more. It claims it lost out since it had an agreement with BayernLB entitling it to 10 per cent of the proceeds if the stake sold for more than $1.1bn.

Constantin sued Mr Ecclestone, Mr Gribkowsky, Bambino and its former legal adviser Stephen Mullens for $140.4m. Judgement in the case is due early this year.

In the last few days of the Constantin case, BayernLB won access to the documents from the trial and a spokesman announced that the bank “expects to file suit against [Mr Ecclestone] in the High Court in London in January 2014”. Like Constantin, it claims that the F1 stake was undervalued and it is understood to want $400m in damages.

When asked whether he expects BayernLB to take legal action if the judge in the Constantin trial rules that the stake was not undervalued, Mr Ecclestone said: “No. BayernLB are waiting for a settlement.” He said he may force the case to be heard even if he wins the ongoing case.

In 2012 a German court sentenced Mr Gribkowsky to eight-and-a-half years in prison for receiving the alleged bribe. Mr Ecclestone may yet be put on trial for paying it. Mr Ecclestone denies paying a bribe and says Mr Gribkowsky threatened to make false allegations about his tax affairs if the money had not been paid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea