F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to face bribery trial in Germany

Formula 1 racing chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is to face criminal charges in Munich over bribery allegations that could threaten his position as the world’s most powerful man in motorsport.

The case is being brought over secret payments to a German banker which allegedly undervalued F1 when the sport was sold to CVC Partners in 2005.

Prosecutors in Munich are expected to announce today that they will bring formal proceedings against Ecclestone over $44m (27m) that was paid to Gerhard Gribkowsky, who was involved in the sale of F1.

The trial has been provisionally scheduled to commence in April.

According to reports, Ecclestone, who has remained at the helm of the sport for almost five decades, will step down from the board of CVC until the trial has concluded. But he will continue the day-to-day running of the sport.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said yesterday that Ecclestone is the “only guy” to run F1, despite the circumstances.

“Bernie is absolutely the best and only guy to do what he does, to take Formula 1 to the global reach that the sport has achieved, introducing races in Russia this year, going back to the Austrian Grand Prix,” Horner said.

“It’s a massive calendar that he’s pulled together [for 2014…] It’s in all our interests that he’s around as long as possible.”

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