Formula One cleared of $50m corruption payment

The outcome of the investigation, carried out by Ernst & Young and Freshfields, should stop the scandal casting a shadow over this year's F1 season which begins in Australia this weekend.

The investigation surrounded a payment of $50m (£30.7m) to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky after he represented German state-owned bank BayernLB in the sale of its 47.2pc stake in F1 to CVC. Prosecutors in Germany allege he undervalued the stake and "in turn received $50m in payments disguised via two consultancy agreements."

After selling the stake Mr Gribkowsky became a director of F1's Jersey-based rights holding company Delta Topco. He was arrested in January on suspicion of bribery, breach of trust and tax evasion. Last month the Delta Topco board instructed Freshfields and Ernst & Young to investigate the circumstances surrounding the acquisition.

Mr Ecclestone told The Daily Telegraph: "That has all gone on and they haven't found anything."

Mr Ecclestone denies paying $50m to Gribkowsky and CVC has also said that "it has no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Mr Gribkowsky or anyone connected with him in relation to CVC's acquisition of Formula One."

Earlier this month it was reported that CVC had spoken to Sir Stuart Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer, about becoming non-executive chairman of Delta Topco. However, Mr Ecclestone rubbished the report: "I don't think they need a chairman. Chairmen don't run companies." The Telegraph

Leave a Reply