Banker Gribkowsky sentenced to eight and a half years in prison
By Berthold Bouman
German ex-banker Gerhard Gribkowsky has been sentenced to eight and a half year imprisonment for tax evasion, bribery and breach of trust. A Munich court yesterday ruled Gribkowsky received a 44 million Euro bribe from FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone when the German BayernLB state bank sold its stake in Formula One to CVC Capital Partners. The bribe was to ensure the stake was sold to CVC and not to another party.
Judge Peter Noll said in court yesterday, “In this process we assume the driving force was Mr Ecclestone.” Therefore the court’s verdict is not just bad news for Gribkowsky, but also for Ecclestone who is already under investigation by the British tax authorities, the HRMC.
Ecclestone has always maintained his innocence and in fact stated in court Gribkowsky was blackmailing him as he threatened to reveal his tax affairs to the HRMC and he therefore paid the 44 million to the German who was the former Chief Risk Officer of the BayernLB bank. Ecclestone now also faces an investigation by the German State Prosecutor.
The 81-year old Ecclestone wasn’t really impressed and commented about the verdict, “I think Mr Gribkowsky told them what he thought he had to tell them. I don’t think I should [face further action] but you don’t know, do you?”
Last week Ecclestone told the UK Daily Telegraph Gribkowsky only had confessed to his crimes to get a more favourable sentence. “The poor guy has been banged up for 18 months. He would have said anything to save himself. He was going to be locked up whatever happens.”
But German State Prosecutor Christoph Rodler also thinks the Formula One boss is guilty of bribery, “Ecclestone was not a victim of blackmail, but a fellow participant in bribery,” he said in court yesterday.