Ecclestone says he is being charged in bribery case

2013 F1 season

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Bernie Ecclestone has told the Financial Times he faces charges in the investigation into whether he bribed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Gribkowsky was sentenced to serve eight-and-a-half years in jail last year. He abandoned an appeal against the conviction in May.

Now Ecclestone says his lawyers “have received an indictment. It’s being translated into English.”

Ecclestone added: “We are defending it properly. It will be an interesting case. It’s a pity it’s happened.”

Gribkowsky was arrested in January 2011 and Ecclestone later admitted making a payment to him.

“I was asked to appear and I appeared,” said Ecclestone earlier this month. “Anything I said at the trial was the truth so I have no reason to believe or expect that anything could be turned against me.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Ecclestone says he is being charged in bribery case”

  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    17th July 2013, 12:04

    can he go to jail? :-)

    1. Don’t be silly! Bernie’s rich…

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        17th July 2013, 12:13


        A suitcase of 100 pound notes and the world’s your oyster :_)

      2. Tom Haxley (@)
        17th July 2013, 12:20

        I dont think Gribkowsky was short of a few quid mind

      3. A bribe to avoid going to jail for bribing someone? That’s hilarious xD

      4. @magnificent-geoffrey Also, don’t forget: Bernie is now 82. In this case, old age plays into his favor as it will make jail time even less likely for him.

        1. @journeyer tell that to Stuart Hall…

          1. @voisey Stuart Hall got a reduced sentence because of his age (The reasoning being that he hasn’t got long to live) and because he pleaded guilty.. So @journeyer is right in that respect..

          2. @keeleyobsessed Hall’s sentence is also being reviewed by the attorney general as it’s seen as too lenient

      5. @magnificent-geoffrey If bail is denied during the arraignment, it doesn’t matter if he’s rich..he WILL be going to jail then.

    2. At 82?

      It’s unlikely.

    3. In principle, yes, of course. However, I’ll only believe it if I see it.

    4. Expect Bernie to visit the inlaws before a warrant is issued. I imagine you can build a pretty nice compound in Brazil if you are a billionaire.

  2. Instead of going to jail, maybe Bernie should be made to buy the Nurburgring.

    1. Including the roller coaster. And fix it. And give away free rides to people who talk ill about him online.

    2. Community service? He could be made to mow the edges of the track for six months.


    3. I’m pretty sure that he tried that deal but it failed, as we read here last week.

      1. That’s what makes it a punishment.

  3. Hell will freeze over before we see Bernie in jail. He´s got it covered for sure!

    1. I want to know his insurance company! Always good to know one that’ll keep you out of jail for minor financial discrepancies. ;-)

  4. “Anything I said at the trial was the truth so I have no reason to believe or expect that anything could be turned against me.”

    It’s called a trial for a reason Mr Ecclestone. Can’t expect them to take your word for it.

    But as far as the seriousness is concerned, I believe this says it all:

    It will be an interesting case.


    Bernie thinking: “hmmmm…. now who do i have to bribe next….”

  5. Crossing my fingers for replacement by CVC soon.

  6. No surprise.

    Hopefully CVC has put in place a succession plan? I agree w/ Dieter Rencken that, in general, F1 is in a disastrous state and no IPO is in the immediate future for the sport. Shame what’s happened, really…

    1. @joepa, don’t expect any better from a successor, whoever is appointed will be looking to maximise shareholder returns, and those shareholders are CVC not F1.

  7. I hope this trial (and it’s outcome) will show how much Bernie Ecclestone actually means to the sport. It makes me sick seeing various comments slating him time and time again (even for some things he has no control over!).
    Also, as a soon-to-be Law Degree student (exam results permitting), it’ll be very interesting for me when researching this case and the different points being made. I enjoyed the Mercedes hearing for the same reasons..

    1. @keeleyobsessed, Bernie seems to have some obsessive fans, assuming you are not part of a mature graduate scheme I doubt you have known F1 without Bernie. Have you researched how Bernie became the “rights holder” and how he subsequently sold those right for billions of dollars ?
      Bernie is a very shrewd businessman and has been very good at making F1 a valuable brand, had he done so for the good of F1 as CEO of a company owned by the teams I would be one of his greatest champions, unfortunately everything Bernie has done has been 1st. and foremost for the good of Bernie, not for the good of F1.

  8. Anyone who thinks the sport will be better with Bernie gone is in for a major shock when that day comes.

    Regardless of what people tend to think, Bernie actually does love this sport & has put a lot back into it to help build it to where it is.
    Whoever CVC decide to put in his place (And it will be a CVC decision) may not care about the sport as much.

    Has Bernie made a fortune off F1, Yes, However he’s also spent a fortune & lost a fortune on F1. From the F1 Digital+ service he had so much of his own cash invested in, To the TV side in general (in-car cameras, dedicated timing systems, consistent tv graphics at every race etc…) & way back in the days where he was putting his own money forward as price money for race winners when the individual race promoters were not always willing to put anything up.

    Is everything Bernie’s done necessarily positive (Or perceived as positive), No. However he’s done far more good for F1 over the years than he has bad.

    1. @GT_Racer, can you back up those claims of Bernie using his own money? I don’t believe it, I think any money Bernie spent (outside his team ownership) on F1 would have been charged against revenue and therefore ultimately paid for by the teams. Prove me wrong!

    2. Bernie is F1, The real F1 people love and respect Bernie (I mean the paddock, drivers et al, except [good riddance] Adam Par]) because the people that matter in F1 know what Bernie has done and Bernie cannot be touched, watch. You cannot put a good man down

      1. I think you should bear in mind that, if any of the people you think show respect, did not show respect, Ecclestone would simply take away their pit pass.

  9. Maybe it’s a case of money taking over the love of the sport. It can happen, you know. He’s a very shrewd businessman and I do find it quite amusing that he felt saying the payment was to keep the banker quiet about his tax avoidance! That’s gotta mean only one thing, surely. He’s happy to take the publics animosity over that issue than to be found out as a total fraudster. Maybe he is cutting his losses and decided this will be the best way to save the face of F1, which I do believe he started investing in for the right reasons.


  10. Poor old Bernie just can’t catch a break. No matter what innocent old thing he does, the nasty press just turns it inside out to make him look like a greedy little evil troll when in fact he’s nicer than Santa Claus and more gentle than the Easter bunny. Now this. All he did was pay a guy heaps of money to keep quiet about his tax evasion. And people just lose their marbles and call that bribery. Why the knee-jerk reaction could make you think the guy had praised Hitler or something, you know?

  11. Well, Bernie getting finally getting convicted of something was my answer for “big news of the year” in the F1 Fanatic prediction competition, but all the rest of my answers are not fairing so well — so I imagine Bernie will eventually prove that one wrong as well! :)

    I thought I was being mean in saying 4th place was the best result Hulkenberg would get this year in the Sauber, but I think he and the team would rejoice in getting that result this year!

    1. @reg I’m on the same lines with the political story that F1 may have a new “leader” but my means are well off: I’ve predicted Bernie will have his last rites!

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