Another front has opened up amid Bernie Ecclestone
's legal woes, as it emerges the state Munich bank BayernLB plans to sue the embattled F1 chief executive. The 83-year-old Briton is already the subject of criminal proceedings in Germany, while the German media company Constantin pursues him for over $100 million in London's high court.
The cases all relate to Ecclestone's alleged paying of a bribe to the now-jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, as the sport's commercial rights were sold to CVC some years ago. BayernLB, having originally held the allegedly undersold shares, is now the latest to file a lawsuit, with the bank confirming to DPA news agency its intention to go to the London high court, probably in January.
The Reuters news agency said BayernLB will seek a staggering $400 million in damages. DPA quoted a bank spokesperson as saying: "It is true that BayernLB is working at high speed on a lawsuit against Mr Ecclestone. "We expected to submit it to the London high court in January."
However, Ecclestone's hopes appear to have been boosted by the judge in the Constantin case, according to the leading F1 business journalist Christian Sylt. In the Guardian newspaper, he quoted Mr Justice Newey as saying: "I have to say I find the idea of a bribe being paid to get rid of the banks more plausible than the idea of a bribe being paid to undertake an arrangement under which shares were sold at an undervalue." (GMM)