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2014-03-06 07:14

DIVINE INSPIRATION? F1 boss Bernie Eccelstone is seeking an heir for his empire as he readies to face corruption charges. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Formula 1 king Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he's looking for a successor as he prepares to face bribery charges in Germany.

The 83-year-old British used-car salesman turned billionaire businessman is due to go on trial in Munich on April 24 to face allegations that he bribed a German banker during discussions over the sale of F1 championship rights in 2006.

Ecclestone told Tuesday's edition of Britain's Financial Times:"I've been spending time on this case and to spend time on Munich I am not able to give what I normally would do, 24/7, to the business. I've been looking, over the last few years, for somebody who can join me to assist with what I have to do.

"I will eventually be in a position, if I decide to retire - or become dead - to have someone to step into my shoes."

BLACKMAIL CLAIMS

Ecclestone was charged in July 2013 in connection with a payment equivalent to R4.7billion he made to former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky which was linked to the sale of the F1 rights.

Gribkowsky was jailed in 2012 for eight-and-a-half years for taking an illegal payment when the rights were sold.

Ecclestone has denied wrongdoing and claimed he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky, who had allegedly threatened to report the F1 commercial boss to the British tax authorities.

Ecclestone stood down from several directorial positions on companies related to F1 in January 2014 but announced that he would continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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