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Ecclestone to stand trial on bribery charges

ESPN Staff
January 16, 2014 « Horner voices double points doubts | Ecclestone bids to buy the Nurburgring »
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Bernie Ecclestone will stand trial on bribery charges in Germany, it has been confirmed.

Prosecutors in Munich announced on Thursday that they will launch criminal proceedings against Ecclestone over the $44m (£27m) that was paid to the German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during the sale of Formula One in 2005. Ecclestone faces charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust.

As yet there is no date set for the start of the trial but it is expected that proceedings will begin in April. It has also been announced that Ecclestone will remain in charge of the day-to-day management of Formula One "subject to increased monitoring" despite stepping down from the board of the sport's parent company for the duration of the trial.

A statement from the board added: "The approval and signing of significant contracts and other material business arrangements shall now be the responsibility of the chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, and deputy chairman, Donald Mackenzie."

Despite Ecclestone also waiting to hear the outcome of a High Court trial - in which he was accused by German media group Constantin Medien of conspiring to undervalue F1 during the sale to CVC in 2005 - Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the sport needs him at the helm.

"Bernie is absolutely the best and only guy to do what he does, to take Formula One to the global reach that the sport has achieved, introducing races in Russia this year, going back to the Austrian Grand Prix," Horner told AP. "It's a massive calendar that he's pulled together (for 2014) ... it's in all our interests that he's around as long as possible."

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