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Charges pressed against Bernie Ecclestone [merged]


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#851 Shambolic

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 11:27

Normally, this kind of statement annoys me no end. Generally speaking, if the prosecution withdraws a charge, the defendant should be regarded as innocent, just as much as if he had been tried and acquitted. Otherwise it's deeply unfair on the defendant, who is denied the ability to clear his name by the actions of the prosecution.


This case is a bit different, though, because if Ecclestone had wanted to clear his name, he could have kept his money in his pocket, argued his case and waited for the verdict. He chose not to do that so he has to live with the fact that his name has not been cleared.

 

If a prosecution withdraws a charge, then I'm mostly in agreement. However, this seems to have been the prosecution offering to "sell off" a charge, which isn't the same thing. "We can't muster a robust case against you sir, you're free to go" is not the same as "We can't muster a robust case against you sir, so chuck us a few quid and we'll call it off."

 

So to me it hardly seems objective and just to have offered a deal of "Either way you walk, but this way the state gets a payoff". That makes me question the motives involved on both sides - Bernie had to say yes to forking over the annual budget of a small F1 team, or several times the lifetime earnings of the average F1 mechanic, and the prosecution had to make said offer. If both sides felt there wasn't a substantial case, or any realistic chance of conviction, why the cash factor? The prosecution could have been looking for a quick bit of fiscal compensation for making a horlicks of things, and Bernie perhaps truly is innocent, and so vastly wealthy he thought it worth obscene amounts of money simply so he could go home and not be bothered with legal proceedings.

 

And that's a worrying situation. The state effectively blackmailing defendants, and defendants effectively being contemptuous enough of the justice prcess as to happily buy their way out. As I've said, it stinks.

 

As to clearing his name, that doesn't seem high on his list of priorities, does it? But then, it doesn't look like it gets in the way of his F1 and fiscal empire, so why should it? Hell, he can even walk out of a nation's court a few million lighter, a few weeks less onconvenienced, and have people lining up to do telephone number digit deals with him.



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#852 Clatter

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 13:28

For the first part, BE did not 'bung' the court a shedload of cash to end the trial. The offer to end or stop the trial was made by the prosecuting counsel. BE accepted this offer, then paid a shedload of cash.

 

Second part, I agree with you, but, having reached a stalemate where the prosecution could not continue, what to do then, let it drag on and on in forlorn hope that that something will change?

Isn't that the part at which the jury, or in this case the judge, would normally retire and make a verdict based on the evidence given?



#853 ForeverF1

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 13:48

Isn't that the part at which the jury, or in this case the judge, would normally retire and make a verdict based on the evidence given?

Dunno, maybe in English Law it would be.



#854 Supertourer

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 16:24

I suppose the big question now is whether CVC's succession plans are far enough along that they can't be stopped. Whether secret deals have been struck, hands shaken in back rooms, myriad VPs pencilled in. Trial or no trial doesn't change the fact that Ecclestone's leadership in the last 12 months has been catastrophic.

 

I don't think these even occurs to CVC, they have made so much money from their investment in F1 already, the ultimate sale of F1 will almost be the icing on the cake and the likely buyer B Ecclestone and/or consortium led by BE -  he is likely to be one of their biggest customers, so why should they worry? It's not as if they invest anything in F1, or promote it, or in fact do anything with it all!



#855 MustangSally

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:48

TriumphST, on 03 Aug 2014 - 19:35, said:

 

However in relation to the banking sector In this case the bank in question wasn't in the private sector  . . . but owned by the state of Bavaria and though culpable for a lack of oversight of Gribkowsky and even stupidity in their failure to recognise the ongoing returns the investment had not only brought the bank till 2005, but that it could also continue to do so for the foreseeable future. 

 

 

There isn't much logic to this case.

 

I don't really see how BLB have avoided any corporate responsibility . . . it is all a bit pot kettle that they are talking about undervaluation - their valuation. I can't believe that Gribkowsky signed off on everything, all by himself.

 

Somehow, all the anti-bankster hate in the German media, like Bild, was directed at Gribkowsky . . . and later at F1 'crooks'. But surely the (stupid or unwise) decision to sell a bank asset - taken by the board-was primary and what happened later was secondary.  In fact, two years later. Until then, the bank thought it had got a good deal.

 

Certainly it was a positive result, unlike the billions  of taxpayers' money the bank lost on Hypo Adria. (That apparently was  an 'overvaluation'.)

 

The bank is also bleating about the money used to 'not bribe' Gribkowsky came from them. Well, again, the board agreed Bernie's commission. No one twisted their arm. Gribkowsky also asked  for a bonus and the board  turned him down. So surely BE was free to do with that money what he wanted. 

 

If the bank is culpable - and surely more than BE in selling low or at all - then why did Constantin not take the bank to court in Germany, rather than a third party to the sale in London? Is this where the bank being owned by the State of Bavaria confuses everything? The State would then be prosecuting itself. Did someone tell Constantin, 'Good luck with that one'.



#856 SophieB

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:18

'No Angel' author Tom Bower has an interesting article about BE in The Sunday Times today. (£ or subscription required)
 
 
 “I’ll give a lot of thought about what I’ll do to my worst enemy,” he said shortly after a judge agreed to end what was billed as Germany’s “biggest fraud trial”.

 

Those with most to fear now are Gerhard Gribkowsky, a German banker who lied about a secret payment of £26m from Ecclestone; a murky professional adviser involved in Ecclestone’s tax affairs; and a group of German businessmen who hoped to extract $270m from him. In the background, orchestrating the prosecution in Munich — a city renowned for corrupt relationships among its powerbrokers — were German vultures eager to score political kudos by destroying Ecclestone. Like many in F1, they expected him to be sent to jail for the rest of his life. Their aspiration, some believe, was to win control of F1, one of the world’s most lucrative sports.



#857 Disgrace

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:34

Better the devil you know?  :well:



#858 MustangSally

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 11:13

'No Angel' author Tom Bower has an interesting article about BE in The Sunday Times today. (£ or subscription required)
 
 
 “I’ll give a lot of thought about what I’ll do to my worst enemy,” he said shortly after a judge agreed to end what was billed as Germany’s “biggest fraud trial”.

 

 

Not much new info here, but Tom Bowyer claims . . . 

 

 

In 2011, Gribkowsky admitted to me while I was writing Ecclestone’s unauthorised biography that he had blackmailed the tycoon over his tax affairs. The revelation in my book would eventually undermine the prosecution case against Ecclestone.

 

 

 

 

There's also a fair amount of evidence  to support the view that Gribkowsky disappointed as  a witness . . .

 

Gribkowsky had been interviewed several times in prison. 

The relationship between Gribkowsky, the prosecution and the Munich powerbrokers had starkly improved the banker’s own fortunes. Soon after his latest inaccurate assertion, Gribkowsky had been transferred from an oppressive cell in a top-security prison to a comfortable day-release hostel.

( . . . . snip . . .  however )

The state’s star witness repeatedly contradicted himself, claiming to have received various payments from Ecclestone in different countries across the globe. Finally he told the judge that he could no longer recall why he had even been paid the £26m bribe.

Even Noll was disenchanted by the prosecution at that stage.

 



#859 ensign14

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:50

I think "prison" in the loosest sense of the word.  A man rips off the state and individuals for tens of millions and he's free to walk the streets every day.

 

I knew the German justice system stank to high heaven, but I did not know just how positively toxic it is. 



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#860 scheivlak

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 13:04

Not much new info here, but Tom Bowyer claims . . . 

 

 

 

 

There's also a fair amount of evidence  to support the view that Gribkowsky disappointed as  a witness . . .

 

Gribkowsky had been interviewed several times in prison. 

From the looks of it mr. Bowyer seems just a bit too satisfied with himself to my taste.

I would take it every word of him - certainly about Bernie - with a few grains of salt.



#861 ensign14

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 13:08

 

I would take it every word of him - certainly about Bernie - with a few grains of salt.

 

I wouldn't.  After all, Bernie hasn't ever sued him.



#862 redreni

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:25

There are of course many bizarre aspects to this grubby business but what I find truly weird is:

1) Gribkowsky was convicted of accepting a bribe

2) There is no dispute that the money in question was paid by Bernie Ecclestone - he himself has admitted it

3) In the Constantin damages trial in the UK, the Judge concluded that BCE had made a corrupt deal and that he had bribed Gribkowsky. He also described BCE as "not reliable or truthful".

4) Despite this background, there is apparently not sufficient evidence to be certain of convicting BCE of paying a bribe to Gribkowsky

I find this baffling - the only way I can see that BCE did not pay a bribe is in some kind of Quantum world where the money paid is simultaneously a bribe and not a bribe.

Perhaps it is as well I never wanted to be a banker - or a lawyer!

 

The judge in the Constantin damages case was applying the civil standard of proof, which in England is "on the balance of probabilities". In the bribery trial, on the other hand, the allegation has to be proved to the criminal standard. In England, the standard of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt" and, although the Germans don't use the same phrase, the standard of proof required there is just as high. It's not a contradiction for the payment in question to be a bribe on the balance of probabilities, but not a bribe beyond reasonable doubt.



#863 MustangSally

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 22:51

From the looks of it mr. Bowyer seems just a bit too satisfied with himself to my taste.

I would take it every word of him - certainly about Bernie - with a few grains of salt.

 

I haven't read the Bernie book but he's a fairly painstaking researcher.

 

The book about Gordon Brown was excellent IMO and provided a lot of insight. 



#864 scheivlak

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 23:03

I haven't read the Bernie book but he's a fairly painstaking researcher.

 

 

Still I never knew that Carlos Reutemann was a World Champion and that Toyota never reached the podium in a F1 race   ;)



#865 GoldenColt

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 13:03

1119629_w747h560v26371_Copy_of_karikatur



#866 Nick Planas

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:53

...and that the Yardley BRM was pink. Bowyer's research seems to have been shallow or non-existent in some cases. I've read the book and, like other works of fiction I've read, it was entertaining...



#867 Amphicar

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 21:04

The judge in the Constantin damages case was applying the civil standard of proof, which in England is "on the balance of probabilities". In the bribery trial, on the other hand, the allegation has to be proved to the criminal standard. In England, the standard of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt" and, although the Germans don't use the same phrase, the standard of proof required there is just as high. It's not a contradiction for the payment in question to be a bribe on the balance of probabilities, but not a bribe beyond reasonable doubt.

I understand that - but Gribkowsky was convicted of accepting a bribe in a criminal court and BCE has admitted that he paid Gribkowsky the money. So even without the Judge's conclusions in the Constantin case, it should not have been too much of a stretch to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that BCE had paid a bribe - unless, as I suggested, in Germany it is possible for the same sum of money to be a bribe (when it was received) but not a bribe (when it was paid).

Alternatively, the money paid to Gribkowsky was not a bribe at all, in which case, why has his conviction not been quashed?

#868 scheivlak

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 22:11

I understand that - but Gribkowsky was convicted of accepting a bribe in a criminal court and BCE has admitted that he paid Gribkowsky the money. So even without the Judge's conclusions in the Constantin case, it should not have been too much of a stretch to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that BCE had paid a bribe - unless, as I suggested, in Germany it is possible for the same sum of money to be a bribe (when it was received) but not a bribe (when it was paid).

Alternatively, the money paid to Gribkowsky was not a bribe at all, in which case, why has his conviction not been quashed?

Maybe because in this way the alternative theory - that Grib bribed Berbie - is not been ruled out?