Tuesday, July 23, 2013

German charged F1 boss with Bribery Criminal

The 82-year-old could face a prison sentence after being convicted by a Munich
prosecutors in connection with $ 44 million (€ 33.6 million) Payments made for German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky rights related to the sale of Formula One in 2006.

An English copy of the charges has been accepted by Ecclestone lawyer and a trial date was not expected to be set before mid-September, said a spokesman for the Munich district court me.

Ecclestone's defense team has until mid-August to challenge the allegations.

Last month, Gribkowsky was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in Munich and Ecclestone has always denied bribing Germany to avoid UK tax investigation into the sale of Formula One, claiming he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky.

Ecclestone, who has been at the top of Formula One over four decades, told the Financial Times newspaper he was ready to defend himself and had given instructions to resign.

"I have spoken to my lawyer and they have received the indictment, which is being translated into English," he said. "We will defend ourselves properly, it is an interesting case, but it is unfortunate that this happened."

If convicted, Ecclestone could face a prison sentence that would lower the Formula One empire.

"I'm not guilty, but if I was sent to prison, I had to deal with it," he has said on the matter. "I do not think I would like it very much, but you have to deal with certain things."

After the rise of motorcycle racing fans over the kingdom he built Formula One, Ecclestone has received the support of the sport.

"Regardless of the situation, I think it's true that it will continue," said Christian Horner, team principal of world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

"There is nothing better in the role of Bernie -. Even if no one has a real idea of ​​what the role involves a transaction, which is still, amazingly," he added.

Horner said the sport would suffer, should Ecclestone was forced to stop. "It is in our interest that he did this work as long as possible," said the 39-year.

"After him, things will only get worse for our sport. Formula One is only what it is because of Bernie Ecclestone. Without him, we would be in real trouble."

Ecclestone rise to become the most powerful man in Formula One began in the late 1970s when he bought the television rights and marketing and has built the sport into one of the most lucrative sporting event in the world.