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German courts take aim at Ecclestone

F1

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.

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Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone speaks during a news conference in New Delhi August 18, 2011. Ecclestone has hailed the circuit for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in October as "one of the nicest" on the calendar and predicted the series to take a serious hold in the world's second-most populous country. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur (INDIA - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING)

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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