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German courts take aim at Ecclestone

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IOL mot pic jul20 F1 Ecclestone

REUTERS

Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone could be arrested for bribery at this weekends German Grand Prix.

German prosecutors are gathering evidence with a view to indicting Formula One motor racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone for bribery.

Bribery is a serious charge in Germany in which suspects are usually arrested but nevertheless, the 81-year-old British multi-millionaire has said he will attend this weekend's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

Ecclestone testified in 2011 at the trial of German bank executive Gerhard Gribkowsky, who was convicted of accepting a $44-million backhander from the racing boss, although Ecclestone insisted he paid the sum under duress, not as a bribe.

INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE

Now German media are saying prosecutors have obtained extensive incriminating evidence against Ecclestone from an eight-hour interview with Gribkowsky - reports on which the prosecutors have declined to comment.

During the trial Gribkowsky admitted taking a bribe, which prosecutors said Ecclestone had paid to ensure that Gribkowsky's employer, a German bank, sold control of Formula One to a company that Ecclestone preferred.

Gribkowsky was sentence to eight and a half years in prison but is appealing. - Sapa-dpa

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