• Gerhard Gribkowsky trial

Banker jailed in F1 bribery case

ESPN Staff
June 28, 2012 « Montezemolo 'worried' by Red Bull pace | Ecclestone to unveil plans for London Grand Prix »
In closing remarks, Bernie Ecclestone was described as an "accomplice" by the prosecutors © Press Association

Gerhard Gribkowsky has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for crimes including bribery, with Bernie Ecclestone described by German prosecutors as an "accomplice".

The former BayernLB banker has been convicted of breach of trust, tax evasion and bribery for the £28 million received from Ecclestone during the sale of Formula One in 2005. Wrapping up Gribkowsky's trial on Wednesday, prosecutor Christoph Rodler argued that Ecclestone was "not the victim of extortion but the accomplice in an act of bribery".

Gribkowsky had told the court in Munich last week that allegations that the money he had received from Ecclestone were bribes were "essentially true". As a result Ecclestone is now liable to be faced with his own corruption case.

Ecclestone denied Gribkowsky's claims, saying that he was just trying to reduce his sentence. "I suppose he would say that [about receiving bribes], so maybe he gets seven years instead of 14 years. The poor guy has been banged up for 18 months. He would have said anything to save himself. He was going to be locked up whatever happens."

Ecclestone has not yet been charged with any wrongdoing. During the trial he described paying Gribkowsky as a "bit stupid" and claimed he paid only some £10 million to "keep him quiet" because Gribkowsky had been putting him under pressure over his tax affairs.