Ecclestone era drawing to a close?

Thursday 24th April 2014

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Ecclestone era drawing to a close?

Ecclestone era drawing to a close?

According to a report in the British media, Bernie Ecclestone's time in charge of Formula One is coming to an end, as his bribery trial starts in a German

court.

Ecclestone is accused of handing over a bribe to the amount of £27.5m to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in order to facilitate the sale of a stake in F1 to a private equity group of his choice.

Even though Ecclestone has admitted making the payment, which resulted in Gribkowsky landing behind bars, the F1 supremo has denied any wrongdoing throughout.

As a result, the diminutive Briton has ruled out paying a settlement in order to avoid jail-time, but it is reported that the court could order the 83-year-old to pay as much as £250 million even if he admits his guilt.

According to a report in the Times, the firm which owns F1 - CVC Capital Partners - has been advised that the sport simply cannot continue with Ecclestone at the helm.

The report adds that CVC's hand was forced when Ecclestone was described as "untruthful and unreliable" by a London judge in January.

"It's over," the Times quotes a source with links to the CVC board as saying.

"In truth, it has been over for a while, but Bernie has been allowed to continue as the face of the sport until this legal advice, which was devastating."

The Times added: "He would be missed by some but is by no means indispensable. No other professional sport expects to get away with the opaque business style that has become the norm under Mr Ecclestone. The time has come for F1 to clean its house."

The trial starts on Thursday and is expected to continue for about five months, although Ecclesone will only be required to be present in the court for two days every week in order to continue in his role in F1.

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