F1 »

Ecclestone rubbishes accusations of $50 million bribe

F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has responded to claims that he was involved in an alleged $50 million bribe paid to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky by describing them as 'absolute nonsense'
Bernie Ecclestone has rubbished as 'absolute nonsense' accusations in the German media that he paid a $50 million bribe to Gerhard Gribkowsky, a banker who was formerly the head of F1 holding company SLEC but who was recently arrested on suspicion of corruption, tax fraud, bribery and breach of trust.

The investigation revolves around a deal five years ago in which F1 shares were sold from the bank BayernLB – represented by Gribkowsky – to CVC Capital Partners, the sport's current majority owners, and specifically 'two consultancy contracts totalling $50 million' that subsequently appeared in two accounts of Gribkowsky's in Austria.

CVC has already issued a statement denying all knowledge of the payment [see separate story – click here], and now the sport's influential commercial rights-holder and Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone has responded to claims in German newspapers that the money came from his company in the form of a bribe, insisting he has no offshore bank accounts in either Mauritius or the Virgin Islands.

“What the German newspapers speculate or the prosecutors suspect is false,” the 80-year-old British billionaire told Bild-Zeitung newspaper, conceding that whilst he knows Gribkowsky, he has 'nothing to do with these payments'. “It's absolute nonsense; I don't even know why I would have given him money.

“I don't know how he got it. As a member of the board of (F1 holding company) Delta Topco, he received only a small salary. I know, because I was the CEO. You should ask the banks involved who might have paid him – and if CVC says it has nothing to do with the payments, you can be absolutely sure they are telling the truth, I assure you.

“If German newspapers are writing that I have something to do with it, that's absolute nonsense and if necessary I will fight it in the courts.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Thursday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Sunday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Saturday Practice, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Saturday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Friday Practice 1, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management  and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Sunday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Saturday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Kamui Kobayashi and the Caterham Seven 250R Kamui edition
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Robbo - Unregistered

January 10, 2011 1:56 PM

Somebody paid it. Who had an incentive or motive to pay? I can only think of one or two possibilities. Gribkowsky knows, but is he going to say? Maybe there is something more in it for him if he keeps quiet even if he does have to spend a bit of time in striped pyjamas. Bernie, I think you should have ignored the speculation in the German press. You may be accused of protesting too much.

© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.