BERLIN: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone was indicted on bribery charges by German prosecutors and faces a trial in Munich which could end the motor racing magnate’s 40-year-reign.
The 82-year-old could face a prison sentence after being charged by Munich prosecutors in relation to a $44 million payment he made to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky which was linked to the sale of the Formula One rights in 2006.
An English copy of the charges has been received by Ecclestone’s lawyers and a date for the trial was not expected to be set before mid-September, said a spokesperson for the Munich I district court.
Ecclestone’s defence team has until the middle of August to challenge the charges.
Last month, Gribkowsky was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in Munich and Ecclestone has always denied bribing the German to avoid a British tax inquiry into the sale of Formula One, claiming he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky.
Ecclestone, who has been at the top of Formula One for four decades, told the Financial Times newspaper he was ready to defend himself and has given no hint of resigning.
“I have spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment, which is being translated into English,” he said.
“We will defend ourselves properly, it is an interesting case, but it is a pity that this has happened.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.
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