The judge who sentenced corrupt F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky on Wednesday described Bernie Ecclestone as the “driving force” of the $44 million bribery.
Condemning Gribkowsky to eight and a half years in jail, presiding judge Peter Noll said in the Munich state court: “In this process we assume the driving force was Mr Ecclestone”. The F1 chief executive “brought the accused into breaking the law and not the other way around”, Noll added, according to the Financial Times.
It is a strong indication that Ecclestone, 81, could himself be charged.
The diminutive Briton sounded open to returning to Germany in relation to the scandal. “If I was asked, yes, of course,” he said on Wednesday. “They asked me before and I went.”
It is not known if this will happen.
Daniel Amelung, one of Gribkowsky’s lawyers, told the court the prosecutors are “scared of Mr Ecclestone, his position and his wealth”. Ecclestone maintains he was effectively the victim of Gribkowsky’s extortion, telling the Daily Mail: “I think (he) told them what he thought he had to tell them.”
As for whether he will face charges, he answered: “I don’t think I should but you don’t know, do you?”
Ecclestone is already facing investigations in the UK, with the Times newspaper reporting that the tax and serious fraud offices have been in contact with German authorities.
“I suppose you’d expect that,” said Ecclestone.