F1: Bernie Ecclestone denied any wrongdoing in court

Formula 1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone appeared at the High Court in London, UK over controversial sale of Formula 1 stake a few years ago.

The 83-year-old businessman has denied allegations he was involved in a “conspiracy” over the controversial sale of a stake in the Formula One Group.

The former owner of the Brabham F1 team is accused of entering into a “corrupt agreement” with German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to facilitate the sale of the stake to a buyer of his preference.

Ecclestone declared the legal action lacked merit and denied any “conspiracy”.

He told a judge he made payments to Gribkowsky because the German banker insinuated he would report him for alleged tax evasion.

“It is true,” replied Ecclestone. “That’s what I have always said.”

Gribkowsky, formerly chief risk officer for BayernLB, was himself convicted in Germany last year of breach of trust, tax evasion and also receiving the $44m payments, allegedly a bribe. He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Ecclestone and his co-defendants deny the claims of wrongdoing. The trial in London is expected to last several weeks.

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