London: Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has admitted paying 27 million pounds to German investment banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, but rebuffed reports that it was a bribe.
His own defense documents have revealed that he and his family paid the amount to Gribkowsky through a third party to conceal their identity.
Ecclestone claimed that he paid Gribkowsky after the latter threatened him. Gribkowsky is already facing a criminal case related to payments in Germany and Ecclestone is also facing a case in London, a leading daily reports.
Ecclestone said there was no link between the sale of F1, payments made to him and his family trust from BayernLB and the subsequent payments made to Gribkowsky.
He pointed out that the payment to Gribkowsky was made time after the sale of F1 concluded. Both Gribkowsky and Ecclestone have been accused by previous owner of F1 Constantin Medien, of undervaluing the motor sport when it was sold to CVC Partners in 2005.
According to the report, Gribkowsky planned out the Formula One deal with CVC and had a default judgment handed down against him earlier this week.