Banker arrested over alleged $50 million F1-bribe
BERLIN (AP) — A former German bank executive has been arrested for allegedly accepting a $50 million kickback in the 2006 sale of a large stake in the Formula One's rights holding company, German prosecutors said Wednesday.
The former risk manager of regional public-sector bank BayernLB was taken into custody on charges of corruption, tax fraud and breach of trust toward his former employer, prosecutors in Munich said in a statement.
Gerhard Gribkowsky was in charge of managing the sale of the bank's F1 stake to London-based buyout group CVC Capital Investment.
But prosecutors say he led the bank to sell it "without evaluation of its current value" which, in turn, earned him "two consultancy contracts totaling $50 million."
The money was paid to firms in Austria that he had set up for that purpose, prosecutors said.
German media on Wednesday widely cited unnamed judicial officials as saying the money had been paid by firms based in Mauritius and the Caribbean, but prosecutors declined to comment or to say who had been the source of the payment.
A spokesman for CVC in Germany, who declined to be named in line with company policy, declined to comment on Gribkowsky's arrest and the bribery allegations.
However, the prosecution statement alleged Gribkowsky failed to pay millions of euros in taxes on the additional income.
BayernLB, or Bayerische Landesbank, held a 48 percent stake in SLEC Holdings, which owned the companies that run the F-1 racing series. At the time, 25 percent were owned by the family trust of Bernie Ecclestone, the longtime commercial head of Formula One, and the remainder was held by other banks.
CVC bought Ecclestone's and the BayernLB's stakes and regrouped them in a firm named Alpha Prema, becoming the Formula One's majority shareholder. The price of the deal has not been disclosed.
Gribkowsky was BayernLB's chief risk officer and a member of the board between 2003 and 2008.
BayernLB was not immediately reachable for comment Wednesday.
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