London, Apr. 22 ANI | 1 year ago

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone will reportedly stand trial in a bribery case starting on Thursday in Munich, which could end up with the billionaire being imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The 256-page indictment against Ecclestone reportedly describes him as an autocrat who had been so concerned about losing power that he paid part of a 44 million-dollar bribe to a former German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, to retain his job in the sport.

According to the Guardian, Ecclestone's bribery case also concerns events that led to private equity firm CVC becoming Formula One's largest shareholder after buying the sport's parent company SLEC Holdings from the billionaire's Bambino family trust and an association of three banks.

Munich prosecutors have reportedly claimed that Ecclestone, who has dominated Formula One for almost 40 years, bribed Gribkowsky followed by chief risk officer of the German lender BayernLB to guide the motorsport group to CVC as the private equity firm had agreed to retain the billionaire as the sport's chief executive.

However, Ecclestone has denied any wrongdoing, arguing that he paid Gribkowsky 10 million-dollars to stop the banker from making false claims about his tab affairs, rather than to favour CVC as a bidder.

Hearings will be held once or twice a week until September this year so that Ecclestone, who remains in day-to-day control, is able to run Formula One and negotiate all of the most valuable deals in the sport, which generates a revenue of 1.6 billion-dollars per year, the report added.

(Posted on 23-04-2014)

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