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Former chairman of F1 holding company arrested
Former chairman of F1 holding company arrested
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jan 2011   |  11:12 pm GMT  |  16 comments

Formula 1 finds itself on the financial pages again tonight, but not for the right reasons. Gerhard Gribkowsky, the 52 year old former chairman of SLEC, the holding company of F1’s commercial rights, which was sold to CVC, has been arrested in a probe on bribery, breach of trust and tax evasion allegations.

German prosecutors wanted him over $50 million of payments relating to the sale of the stake held by his bank, Bayern LLB’s, in F1.

According to the prosecutor in Munich, Bayern LLB, of which Gribkowsky was a senior executive, sold its stake without it being properly evaluated and Gribkowsky received $50 million in payments disguised as two consultancy agreements via companies in the British Virgin Islands and Mauritius into a foundation he set up in Austria called Sonnenschein (Sunshine).

Prosecutors say that because Gribkowsky didn’t declare the money as income in Germany, he may also have evaded taxes.

However Gribkowsky’s Austrian lawyer told the Austrian Press Agency tonight that the foundation was investigated in 2006 and nothing came of it and that the money was “fully taxed”.

CVC, which still owns the majority stake in F1 commercial rights holder issued a statement tonight saying,

“CVC confirms 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.”

Bayern LLB got involved in F1 when the Kirch Group, to whom Bernie Ecclestone had sold a stake in the F1 commercial rights holder, went under in 2002, leaving three banks, including Gribkowsky’s, holding the F1 assets.

He became a regular figure in the paddock and even co-hosted a dinner for a small group of British media at Magny Cours, with Ecclestone. During this time Bayern LLB became the main bank in the consortium and Gribkowsky therefore became chairman of SLEC in 2005. This was at the height of the threat from the manufacturers to break away and start their own series.

For more on this story go to: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b7cc79fa-18fd-11e0-9c12-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1ACSH1miW

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BayernLB are the only ones that lost money if the asset was undervalued. Normally, they would have hired another bank to advise them on the transaction, who would work on the valuations and/or financing. It would be very unusual that anyone would have hired an executive of a vendor as consultant in a valuation for a transaction. Obviously, it is a conflict of interest. If, However, BayernLB believed that they had a case, they would have taken him to court. Lets keep in mind that this was an asset they inherited due to the bankruptcy of Kirch and it is possible that they were simply looking to get their money back (as if often the case with the debtors of bankrupt companies).


Where big money is moving around there will always be people trying to skim a bit off for themselves. It happens in football, cricket, golf, banking, politics — you name it. Those lacking morality will always succumb to temptation.

Let’s hope it all gets revealed quickly, those that have done wrong are exposed and sidelined, and then let’s concentrate on the motor racing.


Sure a lot of ppl here that rush to judgement based on what some unknown prosecuter says in the press. Like with the wikileaks guy and that swedish “case”.

Its interesting that this hinges on his *opinion that there was not “proper evaluation” of the deal. ANd he would know this how… ?

And that he allegedly received money from “somewhere” that they can’t or won’t name.

Evidently the standards for arresting someone in Germany are a little lower than elsewhere.


The money might have come from Flav’s and Bern’s football team.


Mosley did the same thing I reckon, at the time he sold F1 to Bernie he also moved to Monaco…




James how often do you think this sort of thing happens in F1 circles?

Also Im guessing this sort of ‘cream skimming’ affects other things in F1 – say like high fees charged to race hosting cities which results in high ticket prices?


It’s been occurring for as long as anyone can recall, though the sums involved only reached astronomical proportions since Ecclestone/Mosley got their hands on it.


it is a case of someone who sold something, got money for it, and did not declare it as income.

yes the money originates from F1 circles, but hopefully the f1 circles are not involved…

yes bad press in the sense that bernie wined, dined, mingled with people who do not declare tax…

makes me to think about the piquets money laundring story in brazil, as they channeled through money that was fiscally evased..

any credibility or update on that story, James?


Well someone payed him off, if it was not CVC, then who else could it possibly be? Who else possibly stood to benefit? I wonder if they have thought to ask Bernie if he can think of who might have bribed this nice man to sell out cheap?


Follow the money, wonder [mod] if the whole house of F1 cards is going to fall apart because of this mysterious $50m payment.

Gribkowsky has consistently declined to explain where it originated from, just like Max Mosley with his mysterious $300m.


Hmm… We all dream about stumbling upon a a big wallet filled with cash one day when we take our doggie out for a walk. Guess this -kowsky guy got too greedy and tried to force his destiny.

There are worse cases to be honest, we just don’t know the whole truth about our respective governments or rather it wasn’t revealed to us just yet. Corporate greed, local Napoleons – welcome to the 21st century.


Call me ignorant, but what sort of impact could this or will this have on F1? Is it just bad press, or could it do more damage than that? Hopefully it is bad press at worst.



Will James print my comment….

Why was not this discovered by the talented and opinionated Mr Sylt.

Where there is mony, there is temptation.


I bet Tom Mezzaro will represent this dude.

Is that pure enough for [mod] Allen.


YoU are welcome here but don’t try to cause trouble


yeah, i’m finding this story really complicated with all the ‘who owns who’ stuff going on. As long as there’s no danger to F1 it doesn’t really matter does it, and I’m sure Bernie and CVC will prevent F1 being harmed in any way

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