It's come out that Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of Formula One, paid three team principals - Eddie Jordan, Alain Prost and the late Tom Walkinshaw - $10 million each to sign the 1998 Concorde Agreement. Concorde being a commercial rights agreement that governs the split of monies generated by the sport between the FIA, the teams and the Formula One Administration. This is yet another blow in Ecclestone's on-going trial over bribery charges to a German banker, although the English billionaire hardly seems concerned over the revelation.

First, a bit of background. You'll recall that Ecclestone has been charged with bribery in Germany, over allegations that he paid a banker to undervalue shares of Formula One during a sale to a group called CVC Capital Partners. German media firm Constantin Medien alleges that this move cost it heavy commissions, which it is now attempting to get back with $62.2 million damages claim. Philip Marshal, the representative for Constantin, brought up the Concorde Agreement payments during cross-examination.

"They were paid to ensure that their teams did sign. Isn't that right?" asked Philip Marshall. Ecclestone simply responded, "Yes," according to a report from The Telegraph.

Marshall then went on to explain Ecclestone's view on bribes - that they aren't illegal unless they're paid to public figures. Marshall emphasized this, asking, "Did you regard the payment of bribes to people who are not public officials as acceptable?"

"This wasn't a bribe that you're referring to," Ecclestone answered. While it seems unlikely that events of 15 years ago will come back to bite Jordan or Prost, the news that Ecclestone isn't above paying people to sign legal documents is an admission that probably isn't good for his legal defense.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's frightening how much Bernie Ecclestone looks like Carol Channing in this pic.
      • 1 Year Ago
      what else do you expect from someone whose hair is even more ridiculous than Donald Trump's?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bernie's haircut and glasses always strike me as comical and almost cartoon, so I'm always left confused because he's always frowning.
      Ben Lee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Every degree of sport is somehow rigged. Racing probably a little bit more than others.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The methods used by Ecclestone may be brought to question, but one thing is for certain he always had the interests of the sport ahead of any others, his own included. I like Bernie, even though I despise the FIA.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Bernie, is that you?
        • 1 Year Ago
        If her really put F1 first, he would have about as much money as all the teams that have had to leave the last 20 + years had when they got out. His money grubbing and need to control the FIA have hurt the sport quite a bit. Unless he only wants affluent fans.
      • 1 Year Ago
      This proves once again: Most billionaires (with some exceptions of course) stepped on, or made their fortune at the expense of others.
        Jonathan Wayne
        • 1 Year Ago
        The saying "that behind every great fortune is a great crime" is usually true more often than not.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The more news breaks about Ecclestone's "Business Philosophy (?)" and F1, the more I have doubts about the long-term survival of the F1 race series, in its current form. The combination of ridiculously expensive cars, extravagantly-paid race administration, high track expenses, and a very limited number of races in a season possibly make Bernie Ecclestone the "Bernie Madoff of Racing". The way Formula 1 is currently run, it seems to have much more in common with a "Ponzi" scheme than a legitimate business involving automotive racing. While other race series have had their share of scandals, virtually all of them were exclusively about the personal lives of drivers, team owners, or officials; none, to the best I can recall, involved business practices that could qualify for a "RICO" investigation in the United States. In fact, it may be the US "RICO" and anti-bribery laws that have been an underlying reason F1 seemed to be avoiding the US for races, since Ecclestone's views on "Financial Incentives" could have him looking at real prison time here, if he were accused to have committed similar acts while in the US. In order for Formula One to survive, it may be time to give Ecclestone his gold watch and his retirement party sooner and not later. As a metaphor, I think its time for Bernie "to go to Belize", since it's "time for him to go" (reference "Breaking Bad").
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can we just take this guy's money away already? He's clearly set on using his powers for evil over good, do we really have to sit back and watch him act with continued impunity?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Paying someone to sign a contract is not bribery. If his contract with other teams said, no side deals with other teams, then he breached his contract with them and, potentially, committed legal fraud. For example, Ferrari, as was recently revealed, gets a special cut of commercial rights, above that received by other teams, as a condition of staying in the sport. Ferrari has not been "bribed." And for the record, corsa rosso is not my kind of red.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone who is surprised please raise your hands...
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's a business arrangement between Ecclestone and certain owners. However, if Ecclestone has a fiduciary responsibility to all the team owners he's liable for a civil action.
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's new?
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