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OCTOBER 30, 2013

Swiss authorities open criminal probe against Ecclestone

Yet another war front has opened for F1's embattled chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

As the trial brought by a German media company started in London on Tuesday, 83-year-old Ecclestone was accused of being "corrupt" by lawyers for Constantin Medien, who are seeking $171 million in damages.

Not only that, Briton Ecclestone is still waiting to see if German prosecutors are going to push their similar, albeit criminal charges to a trial, relating to the $44 million payment made to Gerhard Gribkowsky, allegedly as a bribe.

And it now emerges that Swiss authorities have opened their own criminal investigation into the same matter relating to the sale of F1's commercial rights some years ago.

Following a report in the Financial Times, the Bloomberg news agency quoted a spokesman for the Geneva prosecutor's office as saying: "A criminal investigation has been launched."

The spokesman said the investigation follows a request made by Constantin.

"We have to establish the veracity of the facts and whether these would constitute a criminal violation," he added.

(GMM)