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Motorsport | Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone © Gallo Images

F1 boss indicted in bribery case



Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been indicted by German prosecutors for alleged bribery in connection with the sale of a stake in the global racing series.

Ecclestone has been under investigation since a German banker was convicted of taking an illegal payment from him worth $44 million.

Ecclestone told the Munich state court he felt pressured into paying the cash in 2006 because he was worried that Gerhard Gribkowsky would report him to British tax authorities.

Eccelstone told The Associated Press on Wednesday that an indictment against him has been filed.

"The lawyers have accepted an indictment," he said in a telephone interview. "It means they have to reply to the indictment which they are strenuously doing."

Ecclestone has yet to read the indictment.

"They are alleging I bribed someone," he said, while insisting he did "nothing illegal."

Gribkowsky was in charge of managing the sale of BayernLB's stake in Formula One.

In addition to taking the money from Ecclestone, prosecutors maintained during the trial that Gribkowsky used BayernLB's funds to pay the F1 chief a commission of $41.4 million and agreed to pay a further $25 million to Bambino Trust, a company with which Ecclestone was affiliated.

Ecclestone told the court that he had deserved a commission for the sale, saying "I did a very, very good job."

Gribkowsky, who largely admitted to the charges, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after being found guilty last year of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust.

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