Bernie Ecclestone is to face bribery charges, the Munich state prosecutor has confirmed.
The charges relate to the now infamous $44m payment Ecclestone made in 2005 to former banker Gerhard Gribkowksy, who is currently serving an 8 1/2 year jail sentence. Gribkowsky, who was chief risk officer at BayernLB, was found guilty of tax evasion and bribery.
Ecclestone’s view has always been that he was a victim of a ‘shake down’ and had made the payment to stop Gribkowsky from triggering a time-consuming UK tax investigation.
A statement from the prosecutor noted that “under current planning, the main trial should start in late April,” but few further details have emerged.
Meanwhile, in a statement reported by Reuters, Ecclestone’s German legal team said: “The decision to go to trial is normal and in no way is it a finding in the issue at hand. This is something that is up to the trial itself. The alleged bribery never took place. The accusations that are based on Gribkowsky’s testimony are incorrect and based on the facts offer no coherent picture.”