Ecclestone fights to keep $650m bribe case out of US courts

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Bernie Ecclestone is fighting to keep his latest court case from being tried in the United States.

Bluewater Communications Holdings accuses Ecclestone of costing it $650 million by paying a $44million bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in 2006 to secure F1’s sale to CVC Capital Partners, its current owners.

Bluewater claimed in November it should have won the bid for F1 as its offer was “10 percent above any genuine bona fide offer put forward by any other competing buyer”.

Ecclestone claims the fact his payment to Gribkowsky was paid in dollars, from a Swiss bank to an Austrian bank, does not give US courts jurisdiction over the case.

Nor, he added, does Bluewater’s claim their losses were partly inflicted in the state of New York.

“His claim is an absurd claim,” said Ecclestone of the case last year. “He didn’t know that the other bidders were going to pay.”

Gribkowsky was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in June last year for accepting the bribe from Ecclestone. The 82-year-old president and CEO of Formula One Management remains under investigation in Germany but has not been charged.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.