London, July 18 (ANI): Formula One president and CEO Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly been accused of a bribery charge linked to the sale of a stake in F1.
The charge relates to a 44 million-dollar payment to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky of Bayern Landesbank, although Ecclestone has denied bribing Gribkowsky, BBC reports.
Stating that the money was intended to stop the banker from exposing him to a UK tax inquiry, Ecclestone said that the charges are related to the 2006 sale of a 47 percent stake in F1 by the bank, which had acquired it from the bankrupt Kirch media group.
Although Gribkowsky admitted to corruptly receiving 41.4 million dollars in bank commissions and a large payment via the Ecclestone family's Bambino Trust and claimed that he had been paid to undervalue the shares, however, Ecclestone said that the allegation is false, with the report adding that he has mid-August to respond to the charges.
According to Ecclestone, he had paid Gribkowsky to stop him from giving false information to the UK authorities about his tax affairs, and his lawyer added that he intended to dispute the indictment, which he claimed, was largely based on statements from Gribkowsky.
The report further said that Ecclestone faces a possible jail term if found guilty, something he has previously said would force him to stand down as head of F1.
Gribkowsky, who was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in Munich, had been in charge of managing the sale to private equity group CVC Capital Partners, which has since reduced its stake in a series of deals, the report added. (ANI)