Ecclestone to testify in ‘amusing’ bribery case

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says he’s ready to testify in a London High Court in October regarding the allegations of bribery involving convicted former BayernLB employee Gerhard Gribkowsky. According to the Telegraph’s Christian Sylt (who was our special guest on today’s #f1chat on Twitter), Ecclestone says the case should be amusing:

“I’m prepared to give evidence in court and there will be a few others [who do so] as well,” said Mr Ecclestone. “I wish they would bring it forward. It’s going to be amusing.”

The case was filed by Constantin Medien, a former part owner of F1, who claims the sale of F1 to CVC Capital Partners, in effect, short-sold the series and experienced a $171 million loss a it was undervalued.  The case has been lingering in the German prosecution’s arena for some time and Ecclestone recently told the press that any prosecution regarding his role in the sale could see him lose his job as F1 boss.

Perhaps a more damning piece of testimony came from BayernLB’s Kurt Faltlhauser who led the bank’s administrative board from 2002 to 2005 when he testified during the Gribkowsky trial saying:

“the price we were offered by CVC was surprisingly high and it came as a great relief.”

Regardless of if Ecclestone was part of a bribe to smooth the way for CVC Capital to purchase the series from BayernLB, if a bank board member is quoted as saying they got a high price for the assets and they were relived, it’s a hard case to make that is was short-sold and undervalued. I’m no expect on British law but it seems the bank were happy with the valuation and sold the assets. It’s a little difficult to come back now and claim undervaluation in hindsight. I’m sure some would like to speak about the Honda F1 team being sold for $1 and then winning the championship and sold to Mercedes for millions.

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