Ecclestone denies bribery charge

Friday 25-April-2014 04:46

Bernie Ecclestone denied bribery allegations on the first day of his trial in Munich, adamant it "never happened."

On Thursday, the F1 supremo began the fight for not only his freedom but also his job amidst reports that CVC have decided now is the time to let him go.

Ecclestone is in court to answer charges of bribery relating to the sale of F1 from BayernLB to CVC eight years ago.

The prosecutor claims that Ecclestone paid banker Gerhard Gribkowsky a bribe of $44 million to facilitate the sale to CVC, who were committed to Ecclestone being chief executive of the sport.

The 83-year-old, though, maintains his innocence.

"The alleged bribery never happened," said a statement read to the court by his lawyers.

"The prosecution's claims are based on statements by Dr [Gerhard] Gribkowsky which are wrong, misleading and inconclusive."

Ecclestone's lawyers also claimed that statements given by Gribkowsky during his own trial were "incorrect, misleading and incoherent."

"They do not take account of the real course of events in 2005 and 2006 regarding Formula One and the life of Mr Ecclestone. The picture that currently appears is incomplete.

"Starting with the statement of their client, the defence will be presenting new documents relevant to the issues that contradict the statements made by Gribkowsky so far. For that reason alone, no reference can be made to findings in other proceedings."

There was one lighter moment in the court when the Brit was asked to clarify his marital status having initially answered "both" when asked if he was "married or divorced."

He added: "I like to remember the divorce part."

The case is expected to run until September.

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