Ecclestone’s troubles mount as German state bank seeks €290 million in damages
11 December, 2013
Germany’s BayernLB bank is seeking damages from Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in connection with an F1 share sale to investor CVC. It claims that Ecclestone bribed a senior bank manager to acquire the package cheaply.
BayernLB was preparing a lawsuit against Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone for €290 million in damages, a spokesperson for the German state-owned lender told the DPA news agancy.
The lawsuit would be filed with the High Court in London presumably in January, she told the German news agency, and followed the sentencing of a former BayernLB manager, who admitted that he had accepted a bribe from Ecclestone.
In 2012, a court in Munich jailed BayernLB’s former chief risk officer Gerhard Gribkowsky for eight and a half years. Gribkowsky said he paid Ecclestone a commission in the region of €48 million, of which about €32 million was kicked back to Gribkowsky.
BayernLB said it was demanding that Ecclestone should return the commission in addition to other sums lost by the bank in connection with the sale of a controlling F1 share package to private equity firm CVC.
In 2006, the German lender, which is based in Munich, was the majority shareholder in Formula 1, but sold a controlling stake in the motor racing company to the US-based investor.
BayernLB claims that Gribkowsky sold the stake below its true value because of the graft deal with Ecclestone. CVC allegedly promised to keep Ecclestone on in his role as the sport’s commercial front.
Currently, CVC owns a 35.5-percent stake in F1′s commercial rights, after selling down its holding from 63 percent last year. In November, the firm’s co-Chairman Donald Mackenzie said that plans for a stock market floatation of F1 would be postponed until damage claims against Ecclestone were resolved.
Mackenzie also said that Ecclestone would be fired if he was found to have committed a crime in his dealings with Gribkowsky. (Reuters)
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