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German prosecutors accuse Ecclestone of bribery

F1 supremo is alleged to have received $41.4m in illegal payments from Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Ecclestone is the current president and CEO of Formula One Management.
Ecclestone is the current president and CEO of Formula One Management.

FORMULA ONE SUPREMO Bernie Ecclestone has been accused of bribery by German prosecutors according to the Financial Times.

The prosecutors allege that Ecclestone and a trust which he owns paid $44m to a German banker.

They also claim that BayernLB gave Ecclestone $41.4m in commissions, in addition to suggesting that a family trust company was paid $25m.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, a banker who oversaw the sale of a stake in F1 in 2005, has already been charged with breach of trust, tax evasion and being in receipt of corrupt payments.

Ecclestone is still under investigation, and yet while he has refused to comment publicly on the matter, he is understood to be confident of being cleared of any wrongdoing.

The prosecutors describes how Gribkowsky received $44m from someone they refer to as “Bernard E” and the Bambino Trust.

Their statement added:

“According to the results of investigations this is bribery money, whose payment was disguised through two fake consulting contracts with [companies] in Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands.”

As compensation for these payments, Gribkowsky allegedly paid $41.4m to Ecclestone on behalf of BayernLB, in addition to $25m to his trust.

Ecclestone is a British sports entrepreneur and billionaire whose fortune grew after he sold television rights to various events in the 1970s. He is the current owner of Queens Park Rangers football club.

Read more in The Guardian>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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