Bernie Ecclestone in alleged £26 million bribery row

Bernie Ecclestone in alleged £26 million bribery row

The Formula 1 chief has confirmed that he has been indicted on bribery charges and a breach of trust by a German judge.

A two-year investigation revealed that there is a case to answer regarding the circumstances of the sale of Formula One by German bank Bayern LB to current majority shareholders CVC Capital partners.
Prosecutors allege that a £26 million payment by the motorsport overlord to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was made to ensure a large stake of Formula 1 was sold below its true value in 2005 to Mr Ecclestone's preferred bidder.

The F1 chief denies the sum was a bribe and instead argues that he was being blackmailed as the banker allegedly threatened to reveal details about his tax affairs, which could have cost him 'billions'.

Mr Ecclestone has now been served with an indictment by a German Judge, and will either have to answer voluntarily to the charges or be threatened with extradition.

Revealing the lengthy and complex case is finally set to go to court, Ecclestone told the Financial Times: "I have just spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment. It's being translated into English. We are defending it properly. It will be an interesting case. It's a pity it's happened."

It is not only German prosecutors chasing Mr Ecclestone through the courts. BayernLB - the bank Gerhard Gribkowsky worked for - is threatening court action against Mr Ecclestone over the 2005 sale, while Constantin Medien, which was entitled to a payment from BayernLB in the event of the bank selling its stake, has begun proceedings.

A would-be buyer of F1 has also served a writ against the F1 chief executive.
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