Gribkowsky confesses: Ecclestone paid ‘giant amount of money’
By Berthold Bouman
A dramatic turn of events today as German ex-banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in court confessed FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone had paid him a ‘giant amount of money’ for the sale in 2006 of the stake the German BayernLB bank had in Formula One.
After months of silence Gribkowsky finally decided to speak out about his part of the deal. Gribkowsky is currently standing trial for bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion. According to Gribkowsky, Ecclestone originally demanded $100 million as a ‘consulting fee’ for the sale, but the German banker managed to bring it down to $44 million and this was subsequently paid to Ecclestone by the BayernLB bank.
Again according to the German, Ecclestone in his turn paid Gribkowsky for his role in the transaction, the former board member of Bavaria’s state bank stated he received $50 million from Ecclestone, a ‘giant amount of money’ and more than he had bargained for as he today reckoned $10 million would have been a more realistic fee.
He then invested the money in an Austrian children’s cancer foundation, because as he said, he has a son who had cancer. “I will spare you the details,” Gribkowsky said today. The German Prosecutor didn’t think much of this story and called the investment in the cancer foundation a classic ‘tax evasion scheme’.
Gribkowsky has been jailed since early January 2011 for his role in this corruption scandal. More than 40 witnesses have been heard, including Ecclestone himself. The Formula One boss denies everything and has stated in court he actually paid Gribkowsky because he had threatened to tell everything to the British tax authorities, the HRMC, who are currently investigating the matter.
If found guilty, Gribkowsky could face nine years of imprisonment. So far Ecclestone was just a witness in this court case, but after Gribkowsky’s confession the 81-year old Briton might face a trial himself in Great Britain for bribery and tax evasion.