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U.S. ruling brings some relief for F1's Ecclestone

Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone leaves the High Court in central London November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone leaves the High Court in central London November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - A New York court has dismissed a $650 million damages claim brought against Bernie Ecclestone, offering some relief from the legal problems dogging the Formula One boss who faces a bribery trial this year.

Investment firm Bluewaters brought the case against Ecclestone and defendants including private equity group CVC, the latest in a series of legal cases stemming from the sale of a major stake in the motor racing business eight years ago.

Supreme Court judge Eileen Bransten ruled that "New York was not a convenient forum for the dispute," adding it should be settled by English or German law. The ruling was dated January 16 but made public only this week.

The case revolved around the $830 million sale of a 47 percent stake in Formula One to CVC by German bank BayernLB.

Bluewaters alleged that it was the highest bidder and that Ecclestone had favored a sale to CVC because it planned to keep him on as chief executive of a business he built into a global money-spinner.

Ecclestone, 83, is waiting to hear the outcome of a $100 million damages claim brought in London by a German company which says it too lost out because of the CVC deal.

He will go on trial in Munich in April after being charged with bribing former BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale to CVC.

Ecclestone denies wrongdoing and says he was the victim of coercion by Gribkowsky.

(Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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