Ecclestone denies mounting bribery claims

L-R: Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky (GER) the majority shareholder of SLEC Holdings with Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 supremo with daughters Petra Ecclestone (GBR) and Tamara Ecclestone (GBR). Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, 4 September 2005. DIGITAL IMAGE

Gerhard Gribkowsky with Bernie Ecclestone on the Monza grid in 2005

Jan.24 (GMM) A German newspaper has published more details about its claim that Bernie Ecclestone paid a $50 million bribe amid the sale of F1’s commercial rights five years ago.

(L to R): Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky (GER) the majority shareholder of SLEC Holdings talks with Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault Team Principal  Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 2 September 2005. DIGITAL IMAGE

Gerhard Gribkowsky with Flavio Briatore in 2005

Earlier in January, the sport’s chief executive vowed to “fight it in the courts” if publications continued to allege he paid German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky a $50 million kickback when the rights were sold by BayernLB to F1’s current owners CVC.

The newsmagazine Stern subsequently alleged that the payments to Gribkowsky were linked with a company called Petara — a word made up from the names of Ecclestone’s daughters Petra and Tamara.

Now, the Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) newspaper claims it has found “concrete evidence” about the Ecclestone link.

The evidence is reportedly a letter to 80-year-old Briton Ecclestone from an Austrian company called GREP GmbH, which received the bulk of the Gribkowsky payment.

The letter, marked as confidential and dated December 14 2007, demands that Ecclestone pay a missing instalment of $2.3 million as well as late penalties.

The writer was a lawyer working for Gribkowsky, and SZ cited sources in revealing that Ecclestone was “outraged” when he received the letter in London.

The latest media report said Formula One Management has renewed its denial that the company or its boss Ecclestone were involved with or had any knowledge about the payments to Gribkowsky.

  • Bec

    The banks needed control of ‘Bambino’ because they could not get the highest price for their stakes without it.

    Speed Investments, the company which held the banks’ 75% stake in SLEC, sued Bambino to get control of FOH. Speed Investments won.

    Gribkowsky and the banks did not need to go to court with Ecclestone and Bambino over control of FOA as on 25 March 2005 Bayern released a statement saying that “Mr Ecclestone and Bambino Holdings have demonstrated prudence in backing down on all of the points under legal dispute.”

    This gave the banks the control they needed to get the highest price for their SLEC shares, and so no ‘bride’ was ever needed or paid.

  • IceBerg

    If Ecclestone were in a position to sue he would, he’s not and won’t.

    Such is the byzantine nature of the financial control of F1 nobody knows how the shares and ownership is structured. What is also unknown is the rational for some of the payments made by FOM over the years such as $300m purported to have gone to Max Mosley (for services rendered) and a mysterious $400m paid to settle a debt last year that existed and supposedly owed to an apparently worthless shell company.

    Interesting to see if F1 can be unravelled before Ecclestone kicks the bucket, hope so…..I’ll be watching this space.