Ecclestone refutes bribery claim as charge details emerge

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Bernie Ecclestone continues to deny he bribed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky as more details of the charges he faces have emerged.

According to The Telegraph the indictment Ecclestone has been served by German prosecutors Ecclestone was put under “pressure” by Gribkowsky who threatened to tell the UK tax authority HM Revenue and Customs that Ecclestone was in charge of the Bambino Trust which, if true, would have required him to pay tax on the $4bn it holds.

Ecclestone claims he paid Gribkowsky $44m to prevent him from making the false allegation which could have caused HMRC to investigate his business affairs at considerable time and expense.

He denies the money was a bribe intended to facilitate the 2006 sale of Formula One to CVC Capital Partners while retaining him as chief executive of the sport.

The indictment adds Gribkowsky’s claims “did not, however, present a real threat for separate tax treatment of the accused and the Bambino Trust on the part of the British tax authorities, since Dr Gribkowsky and BayernLB had no specific proof of any such connection”.

It also claims Ecclestone persuaded CVC co-founder, Donald Mackenzie, to revise his valuation of Formula One from $1bn to $2bn. A decision on whether the case will go to trial is expected after Ecclestone’s legal team make their formal submissions next month.

Alex Zanardi set for Rolex 24 entry in 2019 with BMW

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BMW has announced that ex-Formula 1 and CART racer-turned-Paralympic gold medallist Alex Zanardi will enter the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2019.

Zanardi enjoyed a successful single-seater career before losing both his legs in a crash at the Lausitzring in 2001, appearing to cut his racing ambitions short.

The Italian made a return to motorsport in modified touring cars, and also pursued a career in hand cycling, going on to win four gold medals across the London and Rio Paralympics in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

Zanardi’s next challenge will see him enter the 24-hour endurance sports car race at Daytona International Speedway in 2019, as announced by BMW on Friday night.

More to follow…