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Thu Apr 24 16:19:47 SAST 2014

Germany collects evidence to charge Ecclestone

Sapa-dpa | 20 July, 2012 08:050 Comments
F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone talks with Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing on the grid before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit on July 8, 2012 in Northampton, England
Image by: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

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.

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Germany collects evidence to charge Ecclestone

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