Bernie Ecclestone indicted by German judge in F1 case

Formula One chief executive Ecclestone said it was "inevitable" that the indictment had been served.

Story highlights

  • Ecclestone told the Financial Times: "I have just spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment."
  • His lawyers rejects the charges and is now preparing a comprehensive response to the indictment
  • Ecclestone's lawyers will submit their response to the Munich court in the next couple of weeks

Bernie Ecclestone has been formally served with an indictment from a German judge investigating allegations of bribery, the Formula One chief executive has confirmed.

German prosecutors concluded investigations into Mr Ecclestone in May in the wake of the conviction for corruption of Gerhard Gribkowsky, a former German banker, for receiving payments from the motor racing chief connected with the sale of the sport in 2005.

Mr Ecclestone told the Financial Times: "I have just spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment. It's being translated into English."

Asked how he responded to the indictment, Mr Ecclestone said: "We are defending it properly. It will be an interesting case. It's a pity it's happened."

Sven Thomas, a lawyer for Mr Ecclestone, confirmed receiving the indictment from Munich prosecutors, which specifies claims of aiding and abetting breach of trust and of bribery, he said.

Mr Ecclestone's legal team rejects the charges and is now preparing a comprehensive response to the indictment and will deal with all the allegations contained in it.

Mr Thomas said the allegations mainly depended on statements made by Mr Gribkowsky and that Mr Ecclestone plans to dispute the veracity of these statements.

Mr Thomas said the charge of bribery was "highly questionable" as there exist very different British and German interpretations of what constitutes a public servant (Mr Gribkowsky worked for BayernLB, the German Landesbank at the time of the sale).

Mr Ecclestone's legal team will submit their response to the Munich court in the next couple of weeks. It is then up to the court to weigh up the merits of the prosecutors' and defence positions and decide whether the case should be heard in court.

The delivery of the indictment comes as Mr Ecclestone's representatives and other parties attend a court hearing in London to fight claims from Constantin Medien that he undersold the broadcast rights to F1 to CVC, the private equity company.