Formula 1 commercial rights boss Bernie Ecclestone has been formally indicted by German prosecutors investigating allegations of bribery.
The charges relate to Ecclestone’s role in the sale of F1 to CVC in 2005, and come in the wake of the sentencing of German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who was given eight and a half years in prison for corruption. Ecclestone admitted making payments to Gribkowsky, but said he did so because he had been threatened with blackmail.
Ecclestone told the Associated Press that his lawyers “have accepted an indictment. It means they have to reply to the indictment, which they are strenuously doing.”
He also confirmed prosecutors were “alleging I bribed someone” but says he did “nothing illegal.”
His legal team is expected to submit its response to the Munich court in the next few weeks. The court will then weigh up the merits of both prosecution and defense before deciding whether the case will be heard.
Ecclestone said in December last year that he would likely be removed from his role as F1 boss if he faced further action over the case. Speaking about what CVC would do if he was charged, Ecclestone told the UK Sunday Telegraph: “[It] will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It’s pretty obvious, if I’m locked up.”