Ecclestone denies paying bribe to F1 banker

(L to R): Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 Supremo and Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky, the majority shareholder of SLEC holdings.  Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 20 August 2005. DIGITAL IMAGE

Bernie Ecclestone with Gerhard Gribkowsky

Jan.8 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has denied paying a bribe to a German banker arrested last week for corruption.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, once representing former F1 owner Bayerische Landesbank, is charged with accepting $50 million amid the sale of the sport’s commercial rights to its current owners CVC five years ago.

CVC issued a statement insisting it had “no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Mr Gribkowsky or anyone connected with him in relation to CVC’s acquisition of formula one”.

Asked if he has anything to do with the suspicious tale, F1 chief executive Ecclestone said on Saturday: “No; what the German newspapers speculate or the prosecutors suspect is false.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” the 80-year-old Briton told Bild-Zeitung newspaper.

Ecclestone admits to knowing Gribkowsky but insists he has “nothing to do with these payments” to him.

“I don’t even know why I would have given him money,” he insisted.

Ecclestone denied having bank accounts in the Virgin Islands or Mauritius or knowing a holding company linked to Gribkowsky’s money.

“I don’t know how he got it (the $50m),” Ecclestone insisted. “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,” he warned.

  • IceBerg

    Why would anyone believe a secondhand car dealer, especially one with Ecclestone’s track record?