Bernie Ecclestone has come out to admit that his reign as Formula One’s ringmaster could end if he is charged in a bribery case in Germany, revolving around the $1.6 billion sale of F1 to CVC in 2006.
The case involved relates to a $44 million bribe that Ecclestone allegedly paid to Gerhard Gribkowsky, a German banker, to allow the sale to CVC.
On the subject, Bernie said CVC “will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It’s pretty obvious, if I’m locked up”.
Gribkowsky was arrested in January 2011 and speculation has since arisen that suggests the Ecclestone could face corruption charges. However, even after almost two years of investigation, he has not yet been charged, admitting to paying Gribkowsky, but denying that it was a bribe.
On the contrary, Ecclestone says he had been told by Gribkowsky that if he was not paid, he would hand alleged details of Ecclestone’s tax affairs to HM Revenue and Customs.
Last week, Ferrari chief, Luca di Montezemolo was quoted as saying “If Bernie is accused under process, I think he will be the first to give a step back in the interests of Formula One” adding, “The era of the one-man show cannot continue. We are slowly approaching the end of a period characterised by the style of one man who has done significant things”.