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SBD Global/April 24, 2014/Finance

German Prosecutors Reveal F1's Bernie Ecclestone Was Blackmailed On Eve Of Trial

German prosecutors "have made the startling revelation" that they believe F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "was blackmailed by former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky," according to Christian Sylt for FORBES. The revelation is surprising "because it reflects Mr Ecclestone’s defence to charges issued by the same prosecutors that he bribed Mr Gribkowsky." The bribery trial against Ecclestone will get under way in the German city of Munich on Thursday and the billionaire auto racing boss "could be imprisoned for up to 10 years if he is found guilty" (FORBES, 4/23). In London, Kevin Eason Ecclestone could be ordered to pay as much as £250M "to escape the threat of jail." Citing sources Ecclestone "should reach a financial settlement with the authorities in Munich rather than risk a prison term of up to ten years if convicted." However, that would "entail accepting that he was guilty," which would mean that "he would be forced to walk away from the sport over which he has ruled for four decades'' (LONDON TIMES, 4/23).
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