Ecclestone trial begins in Germany

By on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bernie-EcclestoneBernie Ecclestone's high-profile trial on bribery charges has begun in Munich.

Ecclestone is accused of paying a bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky back in 2006 when Bayern LB sold their 47% stake in the sport to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners

Gribkowsky, who worked as chief risk seller for Bayern LB, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in 2012.

Prosecutors allege that the bribe aided the sale to CVC, which was Ecclestone's favoured choice.

Ecclestone does not deny that he paid the money to Gribkowsky but insists that he was blackmailed into doing so.

'The alleged bribery never happened', read a statement from Ecclestone's lawyers. 'The prosecution's claims are based on statements by Dr Gribkowsky, which are wrong, misleading and not conclusive.'

The trial will be held on non-consecutive days across the next few months, with its conclusion expected in September.

Ecclestone has handed over some of his Formula 1 duties but maintains day-to-day running of the sport.

The outcome of the trial is expected to decide Ecclestone's future in the sport.

If found guilty, Ecclestone faces a prison sentence of between three months and 10 years, although any punishment could be suspended.

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