Bernie Ecclestone has appeared at a High Court trial to defend himself against allegations that he made a "corrupt bargain" in a bid to stay at the top of Formula 1 racing.

Ecclestone has been accused of entering into a "corrupt agreement" with a banker to facilitate the sale of the Formula 1 group to a buyer "chosen" by him.

A German media company says it lost out as a result of the deal and has taken legal action against Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula 1 group.

Ecclestone says Constantin Medien's claim "lacks any merit" and denies any "conspiracy".

A trial in London is expected to last several weeks.

Ecclestone told a judge that he made payments to the banker because the banker insinuated that he would create difficulties with tax authorities.

"It is true," said Ecclestone. "That's what I have always said."