F1 chief formally accused of paying bribe- 20 Jul 2011 00:00:00
Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and one of his companies have been formally accused of paying over R300m in bribes to a German banker – according to state prosecutors in Munich.
In return for the sale of the sport in 2006, the 80 year-old is also alleged to have received R286.5m in commissions from the state owned Bayerische Landesbank bank.
Gerhard Bribkowsky, the banker accused of accepting the bribe, oversaw Formula One’s sale to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners six years ago.
Gribkowsky was arrested in January and has now been charged with breach of trust and tax evasion - and being in receipt of corrupt payments.
In a statement, Munich’s state prosecutor alleged that the former chief risk officer at Bayerische Landesbank sold his bank’s 48 per cent stake in the sport without updating its valuation in return for bribes disguised as consulting contracts.
The bribes were allegedly paid into Austrian companies in Gribkowsky’s name by someone named “Bernard E” – according to media reports.
The allegations come to light just days before the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring this weekend with world champion Vettel looking to stop any momentum building from the rest of the field – following the surprise win of Ferrari’s Alonso at Silverstone two weeks ago.