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Bernie denies making 'threats'

Friday 08-November-2013 18:04

Bernie Ecclestone insists Constantin Medien's claim against him "lacks any merit" as he never paid a bribe with regards to the sale of Formula One.

Ecclestone is being sued by Constantin Medien, a former F1 shareholder, who alleges that he undervalued the sport eight years ago when German bank BayernLB sold their share to CVC.

According to Constantin's lawyers, Ecclestone made a "corrupt bargain" with Gerhard Gribkowsky in which they allege him to have paid the former banker a bribe of $44 million.

Gribkowsky is currently serving an eight-and-a-half year sentence in Germany for accepting said bribe and tax evasion.

Ecclestone, though, maintained his innocence during Friday's proceedings at the London High Court.

The F1 supremo told Mr Justice Newey: "I am not a person that threatens. If I was going to do something, I would do. I wouldn't threaten."

He did, however, reiterate that he had paid money to Gribkowsky to the tune of £10million but that it was because he was "being shaken down" by the banker.

"He was desperately trying to do business with me. He wanted to leave the bank," the 83-year-old added.

However, Philip Marshall QC, the lawyer for Constantin, billed that as "corrupt payments" that allowed Ecclestone to not only benefit financially but also retain his position with Formula One.

Ecclestone's lawyers are adamant those the claim "lacks any merit" and "is an artificial, manufactured complaint."

Ecclestone be back in court on Monday.

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