F1: Bernie’s cash payment to end bribery trial helps save German child care centers

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Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone handed over a sum of $100 million to end his bribery trial this past summer in Germany.

Most of that has ended up in the coffers of the Bavarian state. But some of Ecclestone’s money has gone to preventing the closure of two German child care centers.

According to David Charter of The Times (London), the German Children’s Hospice Foundation was on the verge of shutting down the two centers, which are part of a group of 20 that provide support to families of terminally ill children.

But the foundation instead will keep the two centers going thanks to a $1 million award allocated by the trial’s lead judge, Peter Noll.

The centers are located in Hanau (near Frankfurt) and the town of Bad Salzungen in the central part of the country. Families can stay there overnight, or the sick children and their siblings can spend the day there themselves.

According to Daniel Fischer, the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, the money has already been used in several ways such as funding seminars for parents of terminally ill kids and German resort holidays for dozens of families in 2015.

Additionally, the money has gone toward installing an emergency coordinator that travels the country to help families in crisis and the publishing of a book on proper practices for child hospice work. Per Fischer, there had been no such publication in the German language.

As for why Fischer’s foundation was chosen, Charter notes that former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky – who is currently in jail for taking a sum of $44 million from Ecclestone – had channeled the money via off-shore accounts to a foundation known as “Sunshine.”

“Sunshine” was supposedly meant to help support and care for cancer-stricken kids, but investigators found it had only made one payment. Fischer himself wonders if that was a reason behind the judge’s decision to allocate the money to his group.

“We can only take a guess, but we think the judge decided that there was so much misuse done by Gribkowsky with his apparently fake foundation that he wanted to choose a real foundation,” Fischer said to The Times.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.