Ecclestone offered me a bribe - banker

Tuesday 13-May-2014 18:28

A German banker testified in the Munich High Court on Tuesday that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone paid him a bribe.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone is accused of channelling funds to the amount of 44 million dollars to Gerhard Gribkowsky, who has already been jailed for his role, in an attempt to smooth over the sale of a stake in F1 to the private equity firm CVC in 2006.

Ecclesone, who has so far denied the bribery charge against him, could spend as much as 10 years behind bars and lose his grip on the sport if he is found guilty.

"The offer clearly came from him," Gribkowsky told Munich court, before adding through an interpreter "I accepted the offer.

"I had a carrot dangled in front of me. I grabbed the carrot.

Gribkowsky maintained, though, that he was unable to recall exactly what Ecclestone wanted in return for the bribe.

"That remained vague," he told judge Peter Noll.

The central issue of the case appears to be the relationship between Ecclestone and Gribkowsky, who served as German bank BayernLB's former chief risk officer at the time.

The Prosecution claims that the reason Ecclestone favoured CVC as new owner of F1 was because of their commitment to keeping him on as chief executive of the business he has run for the last three decades.

While Ecclestone admitted making payment to Gribkowsky, he claims the payments were made to silence the German, who was apparently making false claims about the Brit's tax status.

"We didn't have anything concrete. It was mainly nuisance value," Gribkowsky said when he was asked about talks he had with the British tax authorities regarding Ecclestone.

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