JUNE 20, 2012
Gribkowsky admits receiving F1 cash
German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky has admitted receiving multi million dollar payments to assist with the sale of the F1 business to CVC Capital Partners in 2006, while handling the matter for Bayern Landesbank
German prosecutors allege that Gribkowsky received $44m in bribes from companies controlled by Bernie Ecclestone and the Bambino family trust, a fund linked to Ecclestone's ex-wife Slavica, which owned an F1 stake.
Ecclestone gave evidence at Gribkowsky's Munich trial last year, when he admitted paying the banker but said that he was being "shaken down" and claimed that he made the payments to ensure that the Gribkowsky "did not do silly things" which, Mr Ecclestone claimed, could have brought about a potentially expensive tax investigation into the business.
Ecclestone himself has not been charged with wrong-doing but Gribkowsky faced up to 15 years in prison for breach of trust in his position of chief risk for Bayern LB, corruption and tax evasion.
It has been claimed that he believed that a consultancy role in F1 was also on offer and admitted that he "put himself between two stools" by not declaring that to the bank. Gribkowsky also claimed that he negotiated a better commission to Ecclestone's requested $100m - 5% of the sale price instead which, he believed, entitled him to a bonus from the bank, which was not forthcoming.
Gribkowsky admitted in court today that the prosecution allegations against him were "essentially true" and was warned by a judge that he could still face up to nine years in prison when the case reaches its conclusion -- expected to be within the next fortnight.
What the outcome does for F1's credibility at the time of a projected IPO -- delayed due to volatile Asian markets -- remains to be seen.