Further to the July and November 2011 editions of the Corruption Digest, former Bayerische Landesbank board member, Mr Gerhard Gribkowsky, has admitted to receiving a $44 million bribe from Formula 1 boss, Mr Bernie Ecclestone, in exchange for selling the motor racing group to private equity firm CVC in 2006.
Mr Gribkowsky’s confession means that he could face up to nine years imprisonment. He has already been in custody for 18 months in relation to the allegations. In his statement, Mr Gribkowsky said: “It took me a long time to come to terms with what I have done and to admit even to myself: Yes, it was bribery and yes, I should have paid tax… Still today I have troubles accepting this as a reality”.
It remains to be seen how Mr Gribkowsky’s plea will effect Mr Ecclestone who denies wrongdoing. Mr Ecclestone claims that Mr Gribkowsky, is merely trying “to save himself” and maintains that he has “nothing to hide”. He clarified: “I didn’t tell him he must sell to CVC… How can I say to him that he must do something? The only thing I said [to Mr Gribkowsky] is if I sell the shares I want commission. Whoever you sell to I don’t care who you sell to”.
No formal charges have been brought against Mr Ecclestone.