Mercedes could quit F1 over bribery scandal

UPDATE

Mercedes will be forced to quit F1 if Bernie is found guilty in bribery scandal

The Mercedes F1 team's owners have reportedly demanded a 'full investigation' into the F1 sale bribery case, which could result in the company leaving the sport.

Having been found guilty of taking nearly $44 million in bribes and failing to pay tax on the money, former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was on Wednesday jailed for eight and a half years by a Munich court.

The charges related to his part in the sale of Formula One rights from German bank BayernLB to CVC, in which he allegedly received cash bribes from Bernie Ecclestone.

And although Ecclestone faces no charges and denies having bribed Gribkowsky, the Daimler Group have reportedly demand an investigation into the events.

According to Handelsblatt newspaper, Daimler "does not tolerate the immoral or corrupt practices of its employees or its business partners."

The paper added that there could be "serious consequences" that could include Daimler, and therefore Mercedes, withdrawing from Formula One.

06/27/12 (GMM) F1's bribery scandal could cost the sport the involvement of German carmaker Mercedes.

Mercedes, with its own Brackley based works team and also a major engine supplier, is watching the Gerhard Gribkowsky affair with particular attention, according to the business newspaper Handelsblatt.

The report said the affair, and particularly the implication of F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, would have "serious consequences" with regards to Mercedes' involvement in the sport.

Senior Daimler officials are reportedly very concerned that, in the event the corruption is proved, Mercedes' continuing involvement would be disallowed due to the Stuttgart marque's strict anti-corruption statutes.

Namely, Daimler "does not tolerate the immoral or corrupt practices of its employees or its business partners", the statutes read.

Laurenz Schmitt, a corporate lawyer for Linklaters in Munich, confirmed that "Ecclestone's bribery payments would fall under this company guideline".

Another legal expert agrees that "If Ecclestone is charged with bribery, Daimler would have to withdraw from F1".

A Mercedes spokesperson told Bild newspaper: "We welcome the evaluation of the recent allegations in formula one and now await the clarification of the authorities."

DPA news agency said closing arguments in the Gribkowsky trial are being given now.

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