Formula One boss Ecclestone denies bribery at German trial

MUNICH, Germany, (Reuters) – Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone denied bribery charges yesterday at the start of a trial in Germany that threatens to break his decades-long dominance of motor racing.

Prosecutors accuse the 83-year-old Briton of bribing banker Gerhard Gribkowsky by channelling $44 million to him in return for smoothing the sale of a stake in Formula One to private equity firm CVC eight years ago.

They say that Ecclestone favoured CVC as the new owner because it was committed to keeping him on as chief executive of the business.

The former used-car salesman, who became a billionaire by building motor racing into a global money spinner over the past four decades, is fighting to save his job and his reputation. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

“Gribkowsky did not tell the truth at crucial points,” Ecclestone told the court in a 100-page statement read out in German on his behalf by his lawyer Sven Thomas.

Ecclestone maintains that he was the victim of coercion by Gribkowsky. He said Gribkowsky was threatening to make damaging claims about his tax affairs that could have cost him and his family much of their fortune.

“I saw my life’s work in danger,” he said in his statement, explaining that was why he had paid $22.7 million to Gribkowsky.

Ecclestone, wearing a dark suit, sat at a wooden desk flanked by his lawyers and with an interpreter at his side to translate for him on the first day of a case due to last until September.

 

JOB AT RISK

 

CVC remains the largest shareholder in the business, which generates annual revenues of over $1.5 billion from its series of grand prix races around the world. CVC co-chairman Donald Mackenzie has said he would fire Ecclestone if he was found guilty of wrongdoing.

Despite his age, Ecclestone attends almost every grand prix race and remains central to the sport’s commercial success. He has always dismissed talk of retirement, and there is no obvious replacement when he does finally quit or is forced out.

Comments  

Wins for Colts in both Open and U-23 Divisions

Colts secured wins over Kobras and Plaisance Guardians in the Open and U-23 Divisions, respectively, when the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) League Championship continued on Sunday, at the Burnham Court, at Carmichael and Middle streets.

Windies’ woes “a cricketing tragedy”- Legends

LONDON, (Reuters) – The gradual decline of West Indian cricket is hardly a new phenomenon but the latest capitulation of a once-dominant test match power has brought genuine expressions of sadness throughout the sport.

Chase, Holder tumble in ICC rankings

LONDON, CMC – The fallout from West Indies’ humbling innings defeat to England in the opening Test weekend has continued with several of the Caribbean players slumping in the latest International Cricket Council rankings.

Winners’ row for Upper Dem, Essequibo/Pomeroon

Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA) and Essequibo/Pomeroon Football Association secured easy wins when the UDFA GT Beer Inter-Association Championship continued on Sunday, at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground, Linden, UDFA downed East Coast Football Association 3-1.

Broad sets sights on 2019 Ashes

(Reuters) – England’s Stuart Broad wants to play in the home Ashes series against Australia in 2019, the paceman has said after passing Ian Botham to take second place on the country’s all-time list of test wicket-takers.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×