Bernie Ecclestone Would Rather Die Than Give Up Job As F1 CEO, Banker Says
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "would rather die in a pool of gasoline" than give up his position, a jailed former banker told a German court during the fifth day of Ecclestone's bribery trial, according to Lois Hoyal of the LONDON TIMES. Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is serving an eight-and-a-half-year sentence on corruption charges, "received millions of dollars" from Ecclestone for "steering the sale of a stake in the motor sport to a buyer who promised to let Mr. Ecclestone keep his position." Gribkowsky: "Bernie Ecclestone would rather die in a pool of gasoline than give up his job as CEO of Formula One. It was clear that Ecclestone would stay on as CEO, exert his control and continue his life's work. Without him, the whole deal would not have flown" (LONDON TIMES, 5/14). In London, Rose Jacobs reported Gribkowsky "gave details of a conversation he said took place in 2004 in Singapore." He told the court that in addition to proposing the $80M sum, Ecclestone described the city “as the last safe harbour” for hiding money. While Gribkowsky said that he "did not take the offer seriously at the time," a year later “I grabbed the carrot.” Ecclestone, who denies the allegations, "listened intently to the proceedings, which are being translated for him in real time" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/13). AUTOWEEK reported Red Bull Owner Dietrich Mateschitz claims that "Formula One is staring into the abyss." Mateschitz said that "he is worried about F1's future in the event the sport needs to plan ahead without Ecclestone." Mateschitz: "It is very difficult to find someone who can carry on with Formula One [after Ecclestone] on both the sporting and financial side. At the moment, I know of no one” (AUTOWEEK, 5/13).