May 16 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has played down the notion he might quietly retire off the back of his German bribery charges.
Although F1’s 82-year-old chief executive and his Munich lawyers insist the official charge sheet has not actually been received, it is now widely accepted that prosecutors will ask the district court to hear charges related to the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption affair.
It will be alleged Ecclestone paid Gribkowsky – who has already been jailed – $44 million amid the sale of the sport’s commercial rights to current owners CVC.
“No, that’s nonsense,” Ecclestone is quoted by German newspaper Bild.
“The money I paid him had nothing to do with the sale of formula one shares.”
Asked if he will nonetheless retire as a result of the bribery charges, he insisted: “No. I don’t think so.
“The shareholders will have to decide. Forget this story — when my contract expires, they can replace me with whoever they want.”
As for the German charges, Ecclestone said: “All I know is, I am innocent. And in the end the truth will come out.”