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Report: Lawsuit against Ecclestone dismissed in N.Y. Supreme Court

Jan 21, 2014, 11:12 PM EST

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A $650 million lawsuit against Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been dismissed in New York Supreme Court according to a report from Autoweek‘s Christian Sylt.

In November of 2012, American group Bluewaters Communications Holdings filed the suit, arguing that it should have been sold the 47 percent stake in F1 that wound up going to private equity firm CVC in 2006.

Ecclestone faces charges of bribery over a $44 million payment to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, but while he’s admitted to making a payment in separate legal proceedings, he’s said that he did it because Gribkowsky was threatening to make allegations regarding his tax affairs.

Bluewaters states that it was the highest bidder for the aforementioned stake, noting that it was ready to pay an additional 10 percent above any legitimate offer from a potential buyer.

But Sylt reports that a justice of the New York Supreme Court, Eileen Bransten, has ruled against them, emphasizing that the claims involved in the lawsuit took place in Europe and that CVC’s own offer for the stake stated that it was governed by English law and thus, all claims coming out of it would be dealt with in English courts.

Said Bransten, according to Sylt: “…This action is not about a lost business venture in New York, but rather on allegations that an English citizen bribed a German citizen to compel a German bank to sell its interest in a Jersey company to an English company rather than another Jersey company.”

To be clear, Bransten does not appear to be referencing New Jersey. Sylt writes that Bluewaters was based on the island of Jersey, off the coast of England, at the time it made its offer for the F1 stake.

Ecclestone may have dodged a bullet in the U.S., but the British billionaire needs to dodge a few more in the months ahead. He recently stepped down from the board of directors for F1’s parent company ahead of his German bribery trial in April (although he will continue to run day-to-day operations).

Additionally, German media firm Constantin Medien – a former stakeholder in F1 – sued him last fall in London for more than $100 million, alleging that Ecclestone’s sale to CVC undervalued the property and lost them money in the process.

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