Constantin Medien v (1) Bernie Ecclestone, (2) Stephen Mullens, (3) Bambino Holdings Ltd, (4) Gerhard Gribkowsky
October, 20-25 days, Commercial Court
For the claimant Constantin Medien:
Serle Court’s Philip Marshall QC, David Blayney and James Mather, instructed by Peters & Peters partner Keith Oliver.
For the first defendant (1) Bernie Ecclestone:
4 Stone Buildings’ Robert Miles QC instructed alongside Richard Hill QC, instructed by Herbert Smith partner Ted Greeno
For the second defendant (2) Stephen Mullens:
South Square’s Tom Smith, instructed by Hogan Lovells of counsel Neil Dooley
For the third defendant Bambino Holdings Ltd:
Brick Court’s Michael Bools QC, instructed by Edwards Wildman partner Kevin Perry
For the fourth defendant (4) Gerhard Gribkowsky:
Formula 1 (F1) chief executive Bernie Ecclestone denies claims he paid bribes to German investment banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, although he admits he did make some payments to the banker.
Gribkowsky was a Bayerische Landesbank director and chief risk officer in 2006, when it was in the process of selling its controlling stake in F1.
Former owner of F1 Constantin Medien claims that Ecclestone, his lawyer Stephen Mullens, his family trust Bambino Holdings and Gribkowsky conspired to undervalue the motor sport when it was sold to CVC Partners in 2005, in part through the payment of bribes.
It is also alleged that the payments were made so ownership passed to a buyer supportive of Ecclestone, but at the expense of achieving a lower price than could otherwise have been achieved.
Ecclestone says he made the payments because Gribkowsky threatened to take unfounded allegations about him to the tax authorities.
The claimant is the successor owner of F1, who had a contractual entitlement to receive a percentage of the proceeds of the sale should it be sold above a set threshold.
It claims F1 was sold at half its real price, causing it to lose out on a profit-sharing agreement.
The case could take five weeks to be heard and will be followed closely on the front and back pages.