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Ecclestone charged in bribery case

Published 17/07/2013

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been charged by German prosecutors for alleged bribery in connection with the sale of a stake in the global racing series.

Ecclestone has been under investigation since a German banker was convicted of taking an illegal payment from him worth 44 million US dollars (£29 million).

The F1 chief told the Munich state court he felt pressured into paying the cash in 2006 because he was worried that Gerhard Gribkowsky would report him to UK tax authorities.

Eccelstone told reporters: "The lawyers have accepted an indictment. It means they have to reply to the indictment which they are strenuously doing."

He has yet to read the indictment, but he said: "They are alleging I bribed someone," insisting he did "nothing illegal".

Gribkowsky was in charge of managing the sale of BayernLB's stake in Formula One.

In addition to taking the money from Ecclestone, prosecutors said during the trial that Gribkowsky used BayernLB's funds to pay the F1 chief a commission of 41.4 million dollars (£27 million) and agreed to pay a further 25 million dollars (£16 million) to Bambino Trust, a company with which Ecclestone was affiliated.

Ecclestone told the court that he deserved a commission for the sale, saying: "I did a very, very good job."

Gribkowsky, who largely admitted the charges, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after being found guilty last year of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust.

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