Dec.22 (GMM/ There has been bad news from the London High Court for Bernie Ecclestone this week.

The Telegraph reports that a judge has ruled that the F1 chief executive’s suspect payments to former F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky were indeed bribes.

Ecclestone, 81, has denied that description, insisting instead that he only paid the millions after a subtle “shakedown” by the German.

“Isn’t that a bribe”? said Mr Justice Vos.

The judge was entering a default decision against Gribkowsky – because he did not respond to the writ – during the civil proceedings brought by former F1 shareholder Constantin Medien.

“Constantin welcomes this important procedural step and will be pressing on with the determination of damages against Gribkowsky and in the continuing proceedings against Ecclestone and (Stephen) Mullens, and Bambino Holdings,” said Constantin Medien’s lawyer Keith Oliver.