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Sat Apr 19 08:51:45 SAST 2014

Ecclestone thinks bribery case will be amusing

TEAMtalk Media | 14 January, 2013 12:340 Comments
F1 Grand Prix Of India
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone answers questions from the media as he celebrates his 82nd birthday during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit on October 28, 2012 in Noida, India
Image by: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone has downplayed October's High Court trial concerning bribery, saying it will be "amusing."

In the wake of former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky's conviction in Germany last June, Constantin Medien, a former part owner of F1, filed a civil suit in the UK against Ecclestone.

Gribkowsky was found guilty of corruption, breach of trust and tax evasion while Ecclestone escaped trial despite being alleged to have paid money to the former banker as a bribe.

In their suit Constantin Medien, a German media group, claim that Ecclestone and Gribkowsky conspired to undervalue Formula One when a 47.2 percent stake in SLEC Holdings was sold to CVC back in 2006.

The company, which stood to benefit if BayernLB sold its stake for more than $1bn, say they lost out as it was sold at an undervalued price of $839m to CVC.

Ecclestone insists there was no conspiracy and believes the suit is being driving by Constantin shareholder and board member Dieter Hahn.

"This is a case where he is saying because of the actions that allegedly took place he lost money. Because the shares were sold cheap," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"His problem is people from the bank said the shares weren't sold cheap... In the end CVC gave a very good price for the shares."

The F1 supremo also revealed that he had been approached to settle but had refused as he wants his day in court.

"All this is about finding a way to get money.

"It is as simple as that... Dieter Hahn had some intermediary, who is a friend of ours, to talk to me about 'you know you should settle, you don't want to go to court'.

"I'm not settling. The judge will settle the case."

He added: "I'm prepared to give evidence in court and there will be a few others [who do so] as well.

"I wish they would bring it forward. It's going to be amusing."

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