F1 owner CVC launches bribe investigation

Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky (GER) the majority shareholder of SLEC Holdings Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 12 March 2006. DIGITAL IMAGE

Gerhard Gribkowsky

Feb.16 (GMM) F1′s owner has launched an investigation into the takeover of the sport five years ago.

The news comes after banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was jailed on charges surrounding his receipt of $50 million, with mainly German publications claiming F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone may be connected with the mystery payment.

Sky News revealed on Tuesday that the sport’s owner CVC Capital Partners, and the holding company Delta Topco’s board, has appointed auditor Ernst+Young and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to investigate the affair.

Sky News City editor Mark Kleinman said the probe will focus on “the circumstances surrounding the takeover of formula one back in 2006″.

Kleinman added that the firms have been instructed to report back “within a matter of weeks”.

Bloomberg quotes Ecclestone as saying: “I’ve been advised not to talk to anyone about it. A person has been detained.”

CVC repeated its earlier statement that it “has 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”.