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F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone confirms he has been indicted in Germany
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jul 2013   |  11:40 am GMT  |  95 comments

After months of waiting, Formula 1’s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed this morning that he has been formally indicted by the prosector in Germany, relating to the conviction of former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky for corruption.

According to a Financial Times article today, Ecclestone said,

“I have just spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment. It’s being translated into English. We are defending it properly.

“It will be an interesting case. It’s a pity it’s happened.”

Ecclestone added that he had not been offered a route to resolve the suit financially, as had been rumoured in F1 circles.

The teams and FIA will now await developments from CVC and the board of Formula 1, regarding Ecclestone’s ongoing position as chief executive.

Today’s development relates to a $44 million payment to Gribkowsky when he was an officer at Bayern Landesbank, which was a shareholder of F1 before it sold to CVC.

Ecclestone has said that the money paid to Gribkowsky was in response to a “shakedown” by the banker. He has always denied that the payment was a bribe.

According to the FT, Ecclestone’s representatives are due to appear in the London courts this week to defend a suit brought by Constantin Medien that he undersold the commercial rights to F1 to CVC.

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It’s hard to imagine this news having an immediate impact, but I could see some “adjustments” being made in terms of Ecclestone’s role and profile. F1 is bigger than any one man.


Ecclestone said (according to the BBC) “The tax risk would have exceeded £2bn. I paid him to keep calm and not to do silly things”.

That sounds awfully like a bribe. I’m sure some fancy lawyer will be able to spin that to show that he is in fact perfectly innocent.

Personally I’d like to see some kind of investigation into the sale of the F1 TV rights. Bernie paid something like £100m for 100 year rights. Considering the UK TV deal alone was worth in the region of £40m, I am astonished as to how much the rights were under sold.


If he were ever convicted of anything, at his

age they’d just put him under mansion arrest.

He’d no doubt have several to choose from!


Maybe that’s the problem, when someone knows he’s probably exempt from jail time he does stuff he otherwise wouldn’t do.


Only appropriate song for MR E’s circumstances 😉


This is the end

Hold your breath and count to ten

Feel the earth move and then

Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end

I’ve drowned and dreamed this moment

So overdue, I owe them

Swept away, I’m stolen

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

Face it all together

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

Face it all together

At skyfall

Skyfall is where we start

A thousand miles and poles apart

When worlds collide, and days are dark

You may have my number, you can take my name

But you’ll never have my heart

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

Face it all together

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

Face it all together

At skyfall

Where you go I go,

What you see I see

I know I’ll never be me, without the security

Are your loving arms

Keeping me from harm

Put your hand in my hand

And we’ll stand

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

Face it all together

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

Face it all together

At skyfall

Let the sky fall

We will stand tall

At skyfall


didnt he just wave the fee 4 the german gp


Germans indeed do love organisation and standards.

They only developed country where from bribes being a tax deduction, you go on a witch hunt 🙂 Poor Siemens comes to mind – but I’m sure their Latin America market share was worth every dollar they paid in fines, magnificent investment 🙂


Well……..he wont get out of this one if it gets to run it’s course so i guess it’s taxi time for Bernie and believe me it will be him calling the shot……If anyone can figure what i mean.


If Bernie goes to prison, is he going to become the Harry Grout of ‘D’ Block, taking a percentage for the rights to hold cockroach races?


let us not forget that he is a very old man and a successor should be in place or soon in place due to this fact let alone any potential conviction


is suttil not driving for force india albeit he has a conviction?

ecclestone makes f1 work in a way that not many can do. to keep f1 progressing at the current rate, 10 people need to replace him.

what surprises me is the fact that he admits that he bribed the banker but with a different motive. is it the motive or the bribe which is the criminal offence?


I certainly hope justice is done. The notion that Mr. Gribkowski was put in jail on an arbitrary confession is fanciful thinking. The German court took a year to hear the case and found him guilty.

I remember that Mr. E was given the broadcast rights for F1 for 100 years. Somehow I can find a way to see any truly full value payment for 100 years of F1. How was its value calculated and who arrived at this value to decide that Mr. E was paying fair value? So what happened?

Every time F1 is sold for a new record sum of money, we the fans have to meet the expected return on the ‘new’ investment. So we have pay-tv and very high ticket prices for race day. Thank you Mr. E.

I doubt we will see justice over the sale of F1 for 100 years and what it costs us now to watch our favourite sport, but perhaps the German courts will see Mr. E receive his just rewards for what he has done to F1.


I hope Bernie escapes relatively unscathed, to continue leading the merry F1 circus. On the other hand it might be a good time to call it quits – as much as it seems that he wants to carry on for ever, or can’t imagine doing anything else, he MUST be getting a tired in his old age. He’s certainly not putting in as much time on the grid as he used to – which is a shame because he makes great TV.


Is the German prison system privatised? If so could Bernie buy the jail he’s going to stay in first?

Scuderia McLaren

“Men are not punished for their sins but by them.”

– Elbert Hubbard

Mr.E’s defense may be that he paid out of fear and didn’t pay as a bribe for financial gain, but ultimately that story is hardly going to float. If he was sure about his taxation position, as he says he is, he should have reported the guy immediately to the authorities and trusted the powers that be to treat a false tax accusation appropriately. He is hardly a man whom operates his life in fear and its going to be hard to believe that he paid money to save money out of fear of a false tax accusation. How disingenuous, but that’s what happens to most of us when we start clutching at straws. The UAE might have a new British resident soon…


This case has been lurking for some time and I recall that there was a UK tax scam link up with it. Perhaps the next bit if news will be HMRC launching their case. Whatever happens the guy is 82 years old so maybe an opportune time for someone younger to take over?


Bernie has built F1 into the global brand that it now is, and that we should be thankful for, but he is now throttling the life out of it with his greed, killing off the history and tearing the soul out of it, driving up the price for the fans but cutting what they get, blocking Youtube vid’s left right and centre rather than embracing an method to share the history and spread the word of F1, cutting the teams a raw deal financially, Scrapping classic tracks for boring Tilke-dromes in countries with no F1 interest, but bags of money! Sorry Bernie, time to go, for Formula 1’s sake!

Mike from Colombia

Bernie or CVC ?


CVC is only collecting the profits. It’s Bernie who runs the show.


I don’t understand how the person who accepted the bribes is in prison for doing so, yet the person who paid the bribes can get away with the defence of “they weren’t bribes.” Surely they’ve already been proved as bribes in the previous case?

Also, it can’t help your case when you are saying things like “I paid him to keep calm and not to do silly things.” Is not paying money to influence a person’s judgement or views the very definition of a bribe?


“It’s a pity it’s happened.”

You mean it’s a pity you got your collar felt?


I am sure all the teams will stay quiet, I think bribery is probably rife in F1 and I am not sure any of the teams would want to speak out against it.


have you not heard of cas for questions?

it’s only called bribery when exposed.


Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.


He’s very, very tiny, you know. When I saw a pic of his daughter Tamara in the Mail the other day I wondered if Bernie hadn’t already gone into hiding in one of her implants …


Damn! 🙂


omg, i had to re-read….too funny.


Suddenly every F1 fan and their mother is a scholar on laws. Isn’t that something.


We have years of practice interpreting FIA regulations, law is a breeze compared to that Byzantine contraption. This is not that we will get our law predictions any better or worse than our rule interpretations, just that we have a life time of experience doing this.


They shoved that and more down our throats for enough years in school, and taught us to write persuasively at all times, even when we didn’t know what we were talking about. Remember?


If Bernie goes to gaol . . .

He will immediately have part of it refurbished to a high standard.

After a year or two he will buy the premises in order to further develop it and move it upmarket.

His altruistic behaviour will ensure that he gets weekend-releases to attend all F1 events.

So . . . Business as usual – who else is capable of running F1?


Let’s be honest here – Bernie never pays to have facilities upgraded. He’ll pressure someone else to do it at their expense so that he can monetize it. 😛


The question is how long can Bernie drag this thing out. His advanced age may mitigate against him ever having to do jail time, if convicted. (Is one innocent until proven guilty in Germany? That’s the American presumption.) If so, he can continue running F1 while out on bail until the matter is resolved, many years from now.


Germany has the presumption of innocence, but German law also allows the detention of a suspect for a maximum of 6 months, if current investigations indicates a high probability of the suspect getting convicted, plus the suspect is likely flee, destroy evidence or influence witnesses. This detention is not in the hands of the police though, a judge has to decide it and there are legal ways to oppose his judgement.


Of course, there is the presumption of innocence in German law.

However, if there is a reasonable chance for a conviction of an imprisonable offence, and if the suspect represents a flight risk, he may still be arrested and may or may not be granted bail.


The reality in America is you’re presumed ordinary (not innocent) until plausibly accused by someone in a position to make the accusation, and then you’re presumed guilty until proven innocent. Also while serving on juries I’ve heard jurors say, “We’re supposed to be trying to find him guilty”, and most in the room agreed.

nicolas nogaret

are you really american ? this is nonsense

read coffin v USA , 1896


Yes, I’ve been American for 43 years and have served on American juries and have been in court enough times for myself also. I’m not talking about the official line, I’m talking about the reality, how things usually actually play out, not only in the courts but in society.


Mr Allen, would be fair to say Mr Ellclestone

will step aside till the matter is resolved?.

does the F1 board of Directors has any say

in the matter, which I believe Mr Luca d M is

a board member,and if I recall LdM wants

Bernie to retire.

Any coments.


As it says in the article, it will be interesting to see what the board decides. This could go on for a long time. The Gribkowsky case took a year or so to reach its conclusion


Thank you


It sure has been a “hey, what’s under this rug” kind of a week so far.



Seriously, a week of dirt being dug up.


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