German prosecutors charged Bernie Ecclestone for a bribery scheme connected with the 2005 sales of Bayerische Landesbank stake in Formula 1 to CVC Capital Partners.
The Formula One CEO was charged for bribing and inciting a person to commit breach of trust, according to Margarete Noetzel, the spokeswoman for the Munich courts. The former BayernLB chief risk officer, Gerhard Gribkowsky, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison for taking bribes from Ecclestone. Gribkowsky said in court he took $44 million from Ecclestone steer the sale of the bank’s 47% stake in the racing circuit to CVC.
In 2011 Ecclestone denied the allegations and said he was the victim of a shakedown and indeed bribed Gribkowsky, but only because he feared that the banker would tell UK tax authorities about a family trust which was controlled back then by his wife. James Olley, the CVC spokesman, did not comment on the issue, but the company is not involved in the in lawsuit and said it is not aware of any bribery payments in the deal.
Daimler, the company which operates the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team, said that it is supporting clarification of the Ecclestone allegations. The automaker will discuss this issue and the steps to be followed with Fromula 1 stakeholders, the FIA international automobile federation and other teams.