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NOVEMBER 18, 2011

UK looks into F1 bribery allegations

The British government's Serious Fraud Office is looking into whether to conduct an investigation into the bribery allegations that have emerged in the ongoing trial of German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Gribkowsky faces charges that he received bribes in relation to the sale of the F1 company in 2005. At the time Gribkowsky was the Chief Risk Officer for the BayernLB bank, which sold it's shares in F1 to CVC Capital Partners for $839m.

Earlier this month F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone admitted to the court that he gave around $23m to Gribowsky because he was worried that the banker would make false allegations to the UK tax authorities.

In court Ecclestone said, "I was being shaken down. I was under the impression that he might have given some information to the Revenue in England [UK tax authorities] which I did not know much about. If he had done and the Revenue had investigated and been successful it would have been extremely expensive."

"They would unravel the lot ... It would have been so easy for the Revenue to assess me and put the burden on me to prove that it wasn't correct... I couldn't afford to take the risk, simple as that."

The Serious Fraud Office told the Financial Times newspaper, "The SFO is aware of the allegations against Mr Ecclestone and is liaising with the authorities in Germany to ascertain if there is a case in the UK to answer."