German banker admits to secret Ecclestone deal

Gerhard Gribowsky who has been charged with breach of trust and tax evasion

Formula One supremo, Bernie Ecclestone. Picture: Tobias Hase/Pool/AF

BERLIN - Former BayernLB Chief Risk Officer Gerhard Gribowsky admitted in court on Wednesday that he accepted bribes during the lender's 2006 sale of its Formula One stake.

"I allowed myself to be bribed," Gribowsky told a regional court in Munich, admitting he had a secret agreement with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2005.

Gribowsky, who has been charged with breach of trust and tax evasion, was arrested in January 2011 in relation to the sale of BayernLB's 48 percent stake in Formula One to U.K. investor CVC, earmarked by Ecclestone as a new shareholder.

The former BayernLB executive said he was paid 45 million euros (36.3 million pounds) in return and offered a job by Ecclestone. BayernLB had a stake in Formula One along with JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Ecclestone's family trust.

Gribowsky's belated confession did not impress Judge Peter Noll who signalled a possible sentence of nine years in prison.

"It's by and large true," Gribowsky said, commenting on the prosecutor's charges that he denied eight months earlier when the probe started.