Investment firm takes Ecclestone to court over bribery allegations


Bernie Ecclestone will be back in a court of law next October following legal proceedings involving alleged bribery on the part of the former F1 supremo.

The case is linked to a previous action undertaken by a German court in 2014 in which Ecclestone was accused of paying German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky 33m euros to ensure that a company he favoured would buy a stake in F1.

Mr. E denied the charges at the time, saying that he he had paid the money as Gribkowsky was "shaking him down" – threatening to go to the British Tax authorities over Ecclestone’s tax affairs.

Ultimately, the German court agreed to end the trial in exchange of a payment of $100 million to the Bavarian local government, which a provision in the law allowed.

Investment firm Bluewaters Communications Holdings LLC is now attacking Ecclestone, claiming its attempt to buy a controlling interest in Formula One in 2005 "was derailed by a corrupt agreement reached between Mr Bernard Ecclestone and Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky."

The case involves shares held at the time by financial institution Bayerische Landesbank, which were ultimately purchased by private equity firm CVC, with Gribkowsky's complicit help according to Bluewaters' allegations.

"Our client Bluewaters is pleased the judge has now set a date for the trial in London, which presents an opportunity to show how Mr Ecclestone's secret payments to Gerhard Gribkowsky blocked our client's bid for Formula 1," stated Simon Bushell of Signature Litigation.

"The timing is key. Mid-way through Bluewaters' negotiations with BLB, in May 2005, we know Dr Gribkowsky started discussions with his accountant in Austria in anticipation of receiving large payments which needed to be handled very discreetly."

The high court action launched against Ecclestone by Bluewaters Communications will begin in London on October 1, 2019.

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