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F1 NEWS 

Court told that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone did bribe German banker

Bernie Ecclestone

Jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky told a court on Tuesday that he was bribed by Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone over the sale of the sport.

His claims came during a dramatic day of developments at Ecclestone's Munich hearing, which is looking in to whether or not F1's commercial boss illegally paid $44million to Gribkowsky to ease the sale of F1 to CVC in 2005.

Gribkowsky is a star witness in the trial, having already been jailed for eight and a half years for tax evasion and accepting the bribe.

Nevertheless, Ecclestone has consistently denied the payment was a bribe and has repeatedly said that he was being blackmailed.

Speaking at length at the Munich court, however, Gribkowsky left judges in no doubt that he felt the money given to him was a bribe.

"The offer clearly came from him [Ecclestone]," Gribkowsky was quoted as saying by Reuters. "I accepted the offer."

He added: "I had a carrot dangled in front of me. I grabbed the carrot."

Gribkowsky was not able to state exactly what Ecclestone had expected in return for the payment though.

Referring to the blackmail suggestions that Ecclestone has talked about, Gribkowsky confirmed that he had spread rumours about the F1 supremo's tax status, but denied he was using it as a threat.

"We didn't have anything concrete. It was mainly nuisance value," he said.

If Ecclestone is found guilty of paying the bribe, then he could face up to 10 years in prison.

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