It is claimed that F1 team bosses Eddie Jordan, Alain Prost and Tom Walkinshaw were each paid $10m in 2001 in order that they sign up to the Concorde Agreement
The relevelation came at the High court in London, the second day of Bernie Ecclestone's cross examination in the $100m damages case brought by German media company Constantin Medien.
Philip Marshall QC, representing Constantin, claims that the three, Eddie Jordan owner of the team which bore his name, likewise Alain Prost, and Tom Walkinhshaw who owned Arrows, were paid by bankers’ drafts from Valper Holdings, a subsidiary of Bambino Holdings, the Ecclestone’s family trust.
"They were paid to ensure that their teams did sign. Isn’t that right?” Marshall asked Ecclestone. “Yes,” replied the F1 supremo.
When asked why the payments were made to the individuals and not their teams, Ecclestone replied: “I’ve no idea. They were paid to sign the Concorde Agreement and that’s what they did.
“What you are inferring is these people haven’t been acting correctly," he continued, "Alain Prost and whatever.”
"Did you regard the payment of bribes to people who are not public officials as acceptable?" asked Marshall, referring to the alleged suggestion from Luc Argand, a Swiss lawyer and trustee of Bambino Holdings, who is said to have claimed that as long as the person being paid is not a public official such a payment is “not criminal”.
"This wasn't a bribe that you're referring to," replied Ecclestone.
"I'm just asking you a general question," said Marshall. "Do you regard the payment of bribes to people who are not public officials as acceptable?"
"I will have to think about that," replied Ecclestone. "I wish I would have thought about it before actually."