Ecclestone has a good day in court

Bernie Ecclestone in court

Bernie Ecclestone in court

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had a good day in court on Tuesday, as his defence received a boost in the ongoing corruption trial in Munich.

If found guilty of having bribed the jailed former Formula 1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, the sport’s chief executive will certainly lose his job, and probably also be jailed. But his defense – that Gribkowsky blackmailed him – got a boost on Tuesday.

Central to the prosecution’s case is the suggestion that Ecclestone paid Gribkowsky $44 million so that his preferred buyer for Formula 1’s commercial rights, CVC, got the green light.

It is alleged that Ecclestone wanted CVC to buy BayernLB’s shares, because the Munich state bank holding onto them could endanger his role as Formula 1 supremo.

But a former legal advisor to BayernLB on Tuesday testified in Munich, and the witness denied that the bank ever posed a threat to Ecclestone’s job.

“I don’t think it ever arose that Ecclestone could be deposed,” German media reports quote the unnamed witness as saying. I don’t even think it would have been possible.” (GMM)