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Briatore involved in Ecclestone bribe affair? UPDATE
Flavio Briatore
Bernie Ecclestone has played down his friend Flavio Briatore's involvement in the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair.

A German newspaper this week said banned former Renault boss Briatore was involved in the F1 chief executive's payment of millions to the jailed German banker.

Ecclestone told the British newspaper Daily Express: "In no shape or form is Briatore involved in this.

"He did make a payment for me but only because I asked him after this man Gribkowsky threatened to make trouble for me and said he did not want the money paid direct from the UK.

"Briatore did me a favor and, far from being dragged into this, I told the German prosecutor about it.  That is how his name has appeared," said the 80-year-old.

Ecclestone scoffed at claims the scandal could bring him down as F1 chief and even see him jailed.

"The end?  Of course not," said the Briton.

"I will be doing what I do best for a while yet -- making good deals to keep a lot of people happy and well off in F1.  Some might not want me to continue but I enjoy what I do.  That is what I'll be judged on."

08/01/11 (GMM)  Banned former F1 chief Flavio Briatore has been named as being also involved in the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair.

The Italian, a friend and business partner of Bernie Ecclestone, was reportedly involved in the F1 chief executive's payment of millions to jailed German banker Gribkowsky.

The Seddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said Briatore, as well as a Swiss lawyer, helped Ecclestone get the money to Gribkowsky via a web of shell companies and fake consultancy contracts.

And the report said four of Ecclestone's lawyers - three in Geneva and one in London - have been subject to searches by prosecutors. The 80-year-old has said he was effectively blackmailed by Gribkowsky and argued that the amount paid to the former BayernLB risk manager was much less than $44m. APA news agency said the prosecutors have declined to comment on the latest reports.

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