The trial of disgraced merchant banker Gerhard Gribkwosky made more news overnight, with the German admitting that he a multi-million Euro ‘corrupt payment’ from Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1’s chief executive.
Gribkwosky was arrested over 18 months ago and hit with a range of corruption and tax evasion charges, after he was found to be in receipt of over $40 million in payments from Ecclestone and his family-held Bambino Trust.
It is alleged that these payments were made under the table as part of Gribkwosky’s role in brokering the sale of the sport’s commercial rights to CVC Capital Partners.
While plea bargaining is not usually accepted in the German court system, one would assume that Gribkwosky is trying to lessen the sentence he will receive.
The bribery charges are potentially the most damaging to Formula 1, and by admitting that he effectively received a bribe, this could open Ecclestone up to prosecution as the person who paid it.
Ecclestone has continued to deny all bribery allegations, although admitted that the payments were made because he felt he was “being shaken down” by Gribkwosky, who apparently threatened to expose his financial affairs to tax authorities in the United Kingdom.
Whatever the next steps may be, one can guarantee that this doesn’t help the sport’s image one iota.
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