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Ecclestone refutes bribery claim as charge details emerge

Aug 19, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

File photo of F1 chief Ecclestone testifying at district court in Munich Reuters

Bernie Ecclestone continues to deny he bribed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky as more details of the charges he faces have emerged.

According to The Telegraph the indictment Ecclestone has been served by German prosecutors Ecclestone was put under “pressure” by Gribkowsky who threatened to tell the UK tax authority HM Revenue and Customs that Ecclestone was in charge of the Bambino Trust which, if true, would have required him to pay tax on the $4bn it holds.

Ecclestone claims he paid Gribkowsky $44m to prevent him from making the false allegation which could have caused HMRC to investigate his business affairs at considerable time and expense.

He denies the money was a bribe intended to facilitate the 2006 sale of Formula One to CVC Capital Partners while retaining him as chief executive of the sport.

The indictment adds Gribkowsky’s claims “did not, however, present a real threat for separate tax treatment of the accused and the Bambino Trust on the part of the British tax authorities, since Dr Gribkowsky and BayernLB had no specific proof of any such connection”.

It also claims Ecclestone persuaded CVC co-founder, Donald Mackenzie, to revise his valuation of Formula One from $1bn to $2bn. A decision on whether the case will go to trial is expected after Ecclestone’s legal team make their formal submissions next month.

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