Germany collects evidence to charge Ecclestone
German prosecutors are gathering evidence with a view to indicting Bernie Ecclestone, the supremo of Formula One motor racing, for bribery, two Munich newspapers were set to report Friday.
The 81-year-old British multi-millionaire has said he will attend this weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Bribery is a serious charge in Germany in which suspects are usually arrested.
Ecclestone testified last year at the trial of German bank executive Gerhard Gribkowsky who was convicted of accepting a 44-million-dollar backhander from the racing boss. The Briton insisted on his innocence, saying he paid the sum under duress, not as a bribe.
The two newspapers, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Muenchner Merkur, reported that prosecutors had obtained extensive, incriminating evidence against Ecclestone from an eight-hour interview with Gribkowsky.
Prosecutors declined to comment to dpa on the newspapers’ account.
At trial, Gribkowsky admitted taking a bribe. Prosecutors said Ecclestone used the inducement to ensure that Gribkowsky’s employer, a German bank, sold control of Formula One to a company that Ecclestone preferred.
Gribkowsky was sentence to eight and a half years in prison but is appealing.