On Monday, July 18th, Munich prosecutors indicted Gerhard Gribkowsky, former board member of the Bavarian Regional Bank (Bayerische Landesbank, also known as BayernLB), for tax evasion, breach of trust and receipt of corrupt payments. The accusations include failing to pay taxes in Germany trying to conceal payments of bribery money. The defendant has been in jail for seven months.
The case attracts worldwide attention since Mr. Gribkowsky allegedly received $ 41M from Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s Billionaire Chief Executive. Several sources report Mr. Gribkowsky obtained the payment in return for supervising the sale of the 48 percent stake in Formula One BayernLB held without updating the assessment of the value of the interest. The bribes were disguised as consulting contracts.
The timing of the prosecutors pressing charges is particularly interesting since the next Formula One Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday in Germany. Mr. Ecclestone is expected to come to Germany and attend the event. Although Mr. Ecclestone already cooperated with the prosecutor’s office and expects to be disburdened it is yet to turn out whether Mr. Ecclestone is to face charges for aiding and abetting illegal payments to Mr. Gribowsky disguised as phony advisory contacts.
According to a prosecutor BayernLB sustained damages of $ 66.5M in connection with the illegal proceedings. In case of a conviction Mr. Gribowsky faces up to 10 years in prison.