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Bernie trial - Witness changes his tune

2014-05-14 10:15

OH, DEAR, BERNIE: The prospect of imprisonment could be a reality for Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone as key witness Gerhard Gribkowsky changed his tune in court on Tuesday, May 13 2014. Image: AP

LONDON, England - Bernie Ecclestone's bribery trial appeared to turn a dark corner on Tuesday (May 11). He faces losing control of F1 and jail time if ultimately found guilty.

Earlier in May, the Formula 1 chief executive's fate appeared brighter, when the man whom Ecclestone allegedly bribed did not seem to clearly back the prosecutors' claims.

When Gerhard Gribkowsky testified again on Tuesday, he changed his tune.

'GRABBED THE CARROT'

Gribkowsky, then an employee for a state-controlled bank and therefore a public official, admitted what he was promised by Ecclestone influenced his behaviour.

According to Bloomberg, Gribkowsky told the court: "Of course I was aware at that moment that I mentally moved to a certain extent to the side of Mr Ecclestone."

"I grabbed the carrot. Afterwards, I didn't negotiate with the same toughness I had until then," added Gribkowsky, referring to the sale of BayernLB's commercial stake in F1.

Ecclestone's lawyer told the court he was "surprised" by Gribkowsky's apparent U-turn on Tuesday.

Lawyer Norbert Scharf said: "We have to wait how many versions will still emerge and what we make of them."

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