His name has surfaced in connection with a variety of questionable activities over the years yet Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone has always managed to steer clear of trouble. But now, his luck may be running out as German newspaper Bild reports that German prosecutors are preparing to file bribery charges that could put the British mogul behind bars for up to a decade.
The potential charges stem from the ongoing trial of German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who has been held in a Munich prison for the past 18 months. Gribkowsky’s lengthy trial, which began last October, covers a myriad of charges including corrupt payments, tax evasion and breach of trust against his employer. It all stems out of the 2006 sale of the Formula One holding company to its current controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners.
In a deal with prosecutors to reduce his sentence to no more than nine years, the former banker had admitted, “I allowed myself to be bribed. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with what I did to admit it even to myself – yes, it was bribery, and yes, I should have paid tax. Even today I have troubles accepting this as reality.” But the damage came when Gribkowsky adds that, “With hindsight, I know now that I should have said no to (Bernie Ecclestone’s) demands.”