DIETER RENCKEN WHAT HAPPENS IN A POST-BERNIE ERA?
The stories F1’s bigwigs would rather you didn’t know…
After a long wait, Formula 1 has gone back to business as usual. Key issues that have lain unresolved while stakeholders awaited the outcome of Bernie Ecclestone’s Munich trial can now be addressed – apart from one. And that could be the biggest problem of all.
The backstory is well known; in 2012 Gerhard Gribkowsky, a former senior executive at BayernLB, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years after being convicted of tax evasion, bribery and breach of duciary trust. The German prosecutors claimed that Ecclestone, via his family trust, had paid a sum in the region of £30million to Gribkowsky. Ecclestone, who denies bribery, maintains he was “shaken down” by Gribkowsky over tax matters; Gribkowsky claimed he was bribed to ensure BayernLB’s controlling stake in F1 was sold to an entity willing to keep Ecclestone as CEO.
That stake was acquired by CVC Capital Partners, a private equity fund with a reputation for wringing maximum dollars out of investments before exiting, usually via stock market listings.