Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he offered to pay back part of his commission from the deal to sell Formula One in a bid to prevent the matter going to court.

The F1 supremo is accused of bribing Gerhard Gribkowsky, formerly the chief risk officer of BayernLB, to the tune of 44million US dollars (£26million) to steer the sale of the sport to CVC Capital Partners in 2006. The 83-year-old has admitted making the payment to Gribkowsky, but denies that it was a bribe, claiming he made the payment because he was being threatened with blackmail.

Ecclestone was handed a commission of £24.7million by BayernLB for his part in the sale and he has now revealed that he attempted to repay some of that sum to avoid going to trial.

"I don't know why I offered to pay back the commission," he told the Independent.

"Early on we said (we will do it) if that is what is necessary to get this rubbish out of the way.

"I didn't say we would pay it back. I said we will pay some back. One of our lawyers spoke to (BayernLB) and said paying back five per cent was too much, it should have been 2.5 per cent."

In mid-January, Ecclestone stood down from a number of directorial positions in companies related to F1 in order to spend time preparing for the trial in Munich, although he has continued to run the sport on a day-to-day basis.

He will do so for the duration of the trial, which is set to conclude in mid-September.