Ecclestone's German bribery trial to start April 24

26th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

The German bribery trial of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone will start on April 24, the court said Wednesday.

Proceedings are scheduled to run 26 days until September 16, the regional court in the southern city of Munich said in a statement.

The motor-racing magnate was charged last July in relation to a $44-million (32-million-euro) payment he made to former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky which was linked to the sale of Formula One championship rights in 2006.

Gribkowsky was jailed in 2012 for eight and a half years for taking an illegal payment when the rights were sold.

Ecclestone, 83, has denied wrongdoing and claimed he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky who had allegedly threatened to report the F1 boss to British tax authorities.

The case revolves around Formula One rights held by the German bank BayernLB and sold to Britain's CVC Capital Partners for $830 million.

Ecclestone received a $66-million commission from Gribkowsky as part of the deal, then allegedly gave him back $44 million.

Prosecutors suspect this was meant to ensure that CVC would get the rights, which would allow Ecclestone to maintain more control over Formula One business.

© 2014 AFP

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