• Gerhard Gribkowsky trial

Ecclestone admits to being 'shaken down' by banker

ESPNF1 Staff
November 11, 2011 « Webber expects 2012 equality | Force India to run Cecotto Jr »
Bernie Ecclestone appears as a witness at the Gerhard Gribkowski trial © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone admitted he was "shaken down" by Gerhard Gribkowsky by the German authorities during his second day of evidence during the prosecution for corruption and tax evasion of the German banker.

Ecclestone admitted on the first day that he paid the banker $23 million to "keep him quiet" over false allegations - he said he was "shaken down" slickly. "It's something that went on for quite a long period. He was very sophisticated in the way he was shaking me down. I have been shaken down by other people but I must confess not quite as professionally as he did."

Asked why he had no reported this to the police, Ecclestone replied: "It was one of those things in life you want to forget about … regrettably I am reminded about it now."

Ecclestone, 81, is under investigation by the German authorities, and the case is also believed to being watched closely by HM Revenue & Customs to assess if he has misused a trust set up to avoid inheritance tax for his ex-wife and daughters.

He also admitted his ex-wife spent more than £12 million on the daughter's wedding earlier this year during questioning as to his personal fortune. He said he was oblivious as to the cost of the wedding of his youngest daughter, Petra ,until after the event, explaining he had no control over the business dealings of his ex-wife.

"Here's a demonstration of what really happens," he told the court. "My younger daughter got married and I thought as father of the bride I should pay for the wedding. But when it was suggested how much they would be spending on drinks, I thought it was absurd and I managed to upset my daughter and my wife. Then she spent in excess of £12 million on my daughter's wedding, which I did not know about until afterwards."

After finishing giving evidence, Ecclestone headed to the airport to board a private jet to fly to Abu Dhabi in time for the first day's practice at the grand prix.