Ecclestone Indicted for Bribery
German prosecutors have charged the chief executive of Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone, with bribery in connection with $44 million he paid a banker in 2006, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Formula One is an auto-racing franchise that holds 19 Grand Prix races around the world each year.
Ecclestone is charged with bribery and breach of trust for actions during the 2006 sale of BayernLB’s stake in Formula 1 to CVC, a private equity firm. He paid the money in question to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to ensure that the sale went smoothly and to encourage him to ignore other options.
Ecclestone admits the payment, but denied that it was bribery. Ecclestone said he wanted to avoid an investigation by British tax authorities that would have posed tax risks of more than $3 billion. CVC now owns 35 percent of the company.
Gribkowsky, BayernLB’s former chief risk officer, was sentenced to more than eight years in jail last year for taking money from Ecclestone and for failing to declare it to German tax authorities.
Ecclestone, 82, has never made plans to retire and there is no obvious successor.
BayernLB is seeking $400 million in damages.