Prosecutors: Ecclestone was afraid of losing grip

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MUNICH (AP) - Munich prosecutors believe Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone allegedly bribed a German banker because he was afraid of losing his grip on the racing series.

The charges released Monday allege Ecclestone paid banker Gerhard Gribkowsky about $44 million so the Formula One Group would be sold to a buyer acceptable to Ecclestone.

Gribkowsky was in charge of selling BayernLB’s 47 percent stake in F1 to CVC Capital Partners in 2005. He has already been found guilty of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust and is serving an 8½-year prison sentence.

Ecclestone’s trial is set to start April 24 in Munich. Ecclestone acknowledged during Gribkowsky’s trial that he made the payment to avoid being reported by the banker to authorities over his tax affairs.

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