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Ecclestone Dismisses Accusations By German Banker In London's High Court
Published November 8, 2013
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FEELING THREATENED: In London, Tom Cary reported it emerged in court that Gribkowsky at one stage "felt so threatened" by Ecclestone that he "went to the police to register his concerns." Referring to a witness statement given to Munich police in Dec. '04, Philip Marshall QC, representing Constantin Medien, suggested to Ecclestone that Gribkowsky appeared to be "concerned by a physical threat from you" at the time (TELEGRAPH, 11/7). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported Ecclestone said that he "did not think" that Gribkowsky "had wanted to remove him from his role prior to the sale." Ecclestone said, "He gets rid of me and the company is worth nothing" (REUTERS, 11/7).
THE MAN, THE MYTH: The BBC's Andrew Benson reported with Ecclestone, the "myth is so much wrapped up in the man that it is often hard to separate fact from fiction." This son of a Suffolk trawlerman "has ruled Formula 1 for nearly 40 years with a combination of astuteness, cunning, sharp practice and sheer intellectual power arguably unmatched across business and sporting worlds." He "has turned what was essentially a minority activity for enthusiasts into the most-watched global sport outside the Olympics and football's World Cup." His appearance in the High Court this week "is one of a series of legal problems that present him with his biggest challenge yet." Can he "survive accusations he made corrupt payments to a German banker to facilitate the sale of F1?" In the normal business world, the answer would be "no." Any CEO who has referred to women as "domestic appliances" or praised Adolf Hitler for being "able to get things done" would have been "shown the door with a haste to match the indecency of the remarks." Not Ecclestone, who "survived those particular storms -- and many more." He has done it "because of his remarkable achievements, his all-pervading influence in F1 and, since the sport began trading as a commodity, his success in making money for his bosses." That last attribute "may yet keep him in a job, as long as he can survive the current case in London and the subsequent, arguably more serious, criminal bribery case in Munich" (BBC, 11/6).