A High Court judge has dismissed a $140m (€102m) damages claim against Bernie Ecclestone and three other defendants from German media firm Constantin Medien.
However, Mr Justice Newey said in his judgment that he found it "impossible" to regard Formula One's chief executive "a reliable or truthful witness" and ruled that payments Ecclestone made to a German banker Gerhard Gribkowksy did constitute a bribe.
Ecclestone is awaiting a criminal trial in Germany, which begins in April, over allegations that he bribed a public official. Gribkowksy, who has already been jailed, worked for state-owned bank BayernLB.
Ecclestone and three other parties were accused in the High Court in London of making a "corrupt bargain" with Gribkowsky with the intention of undervaluing BayernLB's stake in the sport when it was sold to present owners CVC Capital Partners eight years ago.
Ecclestone did not deny paying Gribkowsky money but claimed that he as "shaken down" by the banker who was threatening to cause trouble for him with the UK tax authorities. (© Daily Telegraph London)