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SBD Global/February 21, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Ecclestone 'Not A Reliable Witness,' But Has $140M Claim Dismissed By High Court
Published February 21, 2014
CLOSING ARGUMENTS: In London, Paul Weaver reported Ecclestone "had waited two months for the verdict" following the civil case in London at the end of last year. Newey said, "No loss to Constantin has been shown to have been caused by the corrupt arrangement with Dr. Gribkowsky. That fact is fatal to the claim." Constantin "are expected to appeal the decision" (GUARDIAN, 2/20). Newey: "The payments were a bribe. They were made because Mr. Ecclestone had entered into a corrupt agreement with Dr. Gribkowsky on May 2005 under which Dr. Gribkowsky was to be rewarded for facilitating the sale of BLB's shares in the F1 Group to a buyer acceptable to Mr. Ecclestone. Even ... making allowances for the lapse of time and Mr. Ecclestone's age, I am afraid that I find it impossible to regard him as a reliable or truthful witness." BBC Chief Sports Correspondent Dan Roan said, "This will be a bitter-sweet victory for Bernie Ecclestone -- his reputation called into question, his integrity called into question too by a High Court judge" (BBC, 2/20).
F1 RESPONSE: F1 has said that Ecclestone "remains in day-to-day charge of running the business," which has an annual turnover of around $1.5B, but he has "stepped down as a director pending the outcome of the German trial." Ecclestone "will also face tighter supervision" from a F1 board that includes prominent businessmen including Nestle Chair Peter Brabeck and CVC co-Founder Donald Mackenzie. The uncertainty over Ecclestone's future "makes it hard to revisit stalled efforts to launch an initial public offering" of a sport that attracts hundreds of millions of TV viewers to its series of grands prix held around the world (REUTERS, 2/20).