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Bernie trial: Bribed banker to testify

2014-05-09 08:07

COURT RESUMES: Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone will be back in court today (May 9 2014 ) in Munich to face the many he bribed.. Image: AP

MUNICH, Germany - Gerhard Gribkowsky, the now jailed banker allegedly given $44-million (R454-million) by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, will testify in court today (Friday May 9 2014).

Gribkowsky is said to be the star witness and this will be his first appearance in Ecclestone's trial.

The whole alleged corruption scandal turns on the conflicting accounts of Gribkowsky and the 83-year-old Ecclestone.

PAID TO INFLUENCE

Gribkowsky, already serving an eight-and-a-half-year jail term for receiving Ecclestone's money, is expected to confirm prosecutors' claims that he was paid to influence the sale of F1's commercial rights and keep Ecclestone in power.

Ecclestone said in an opening written statement to the court: "The accusations are based on statements by Dr Gribkowsky that are incorrect, misleading and incoherent." He insists he only paid Gribkowsky because he was being blackmailed over his personal tax affairs in Britain.

"Many people have asked 'how can you put someone like Bernie under pressure?' You can, if you find the right lever. Gribkowsky succeeded in finding it. It was clear to me he wanted money. From today's perspective this (paying him) may not have been a rational decision but at the time I thought 'This man is dangerous'."

Gribkowsky is one of almost 40 witnesses who will testify in the scheduled 26-day trial.
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