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Ecclestone denies claims bribes were paid to banker

ESPNF1 Staff
January 9, 2011 « Formula One teams bad at paying their debts | »
Gerhard Gribkowsky in the days when he was a familiar face in the F1 paddock © Sutton Images

Bernie Ecclestone has denied paying a bribe to a German banker arrested last week as part of an ongoing investigation.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, once representing former F1 owner Bayerische Landesbank, is charged with accepting $50 million amid the sale of the sport's commercial rights to its current owners CVC five years ago.

CVC issued a statement insisting it had "no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Mr Gribkowsky or anyone connected with him in relation to CVC's acquisition of Formula One".

Asked if he has anything to do with the matter, Ecclestone replied: "No; what the German newspapers speculate or the prosecutors suspect is false. It's absolute nonsense."

Ecclestone admitted to knowing Gribkowsky but insisted he has "nothing to do with these payments" to him. "I don't even know why I would have given him money," he said.

Ecclestone also denied having bank accounts in the Virgin Islands or Mauritius or knowing a holding company linked to Gribkowsky's money. "I don't know how he got it [the $50m] … as a member of the board of [F1 holding company] Delta Topco he received only a small salary. I know because I was the CEO.

"You should ask the banks involved who might have paid him. And if CVC says it has nothing to do with the payments, you can be absolutely sure they are telling the truth. I assure you.

"If German newspapers are writing that I have something to do with it, that's absolute nonsense and if necessary I will fight it in the courts."