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Formula One

German bribery investigation could force F1 CEO resignation

Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone said it is likely he will have to stand down after nearly four decades at the helm if he is charged by German prosecutors in a corruption case.

The eighty-two-year-old told British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, that his position would be jeopardized if he is charged with corruption by German prosecutors.

The bribery investigation surrounds the sale of a controlling stake in the Formula One series from German bank, Bayerische Landesbank, to private equity firm CVC in 2006.

Officials are investigating a 33.2 million euro ($44 million) payment Ecclestone allegedly made to the bank's chairman, Gerhard Gribkowsky, in order to ensure the bank sold CVC its F1 share in 2005.

Ecclestone, the Telegraph reports, admitted paying Gribkowsky, but denies the money was a bribe. He said the money was paid to stop the banker from making public allegations about his tax affairs.

F1 owners CVC, Ecclestone said in the news report published on Sunday, “will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It's pretty obvious, if I'm locked up.”

Gribkowsky was jailed in summer, with speculation mounting Ecclestone too would be charged with corruption.

Investigators are expected to make a decision in January about whether to charge Ecclestone with bribery.

DW.DE