Formula 1

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone steps down following bribery charges

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Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down from the board following his indictment on bribery charges by a German court.

Ecclestone, who is already awaiting the verdict of another lawsuit filed against him in London, was officially charged by prosecutors in Munich and will go on trial in April.

The whole story reverts to the sale of a majority stake in F1 by current owners CVC Captial Partners back in 2005/06 where Mr Ecclestone gave a payment to now jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

While Ecclestone admits making the payment, believed to be around $45m, he denies the charges of bribery instead claiming he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky who was threatening to report him to UK tax authorities.

However prosecutors are arguing that Ecclestone gave the money as a bribe to ensure CVC won the majority stake.

This was due to the company ensuring that the now 83-year-old would remain in his post if they won the bid.

Another company with a shareholding in F1 is Delta Topco and they released a statement on Thursday outlining Ecclestone's decision.

"After discussion with the board, Mr Ecclestone has proposed and the board has agreed that until the case has been concluded, he will step down as a director with immediate effect, thereby relinquishing his board duties and responsibilities until the case has been resolved.

"The board believes that it is in the best interests of both the F1 business and the sport that Mr Ecclestone should continue to run the business on a day to day basis, but subject to increased monitoring and control by the board.

"Mr Ecclestone has agreed to these arrangements," it concluded.

During the recent court case against Ecclestone in London, where German media group Constantin Medien are suing the Briton following the revelation of the payment to Gribkowsky, CVC admitted should he be found guilty the near 40-year reign of Ecclestone would end.

CVC co-founder David MacKensie told the London court: "If it is proven that Mr Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong, we would fire him."

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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