'I'm not guilty' - Ecclestone on bribery case
2 January 2013 – Bernie Ecclestone says he is innocent of any crime surrounding the sale of Formula 1 to private equity firm CVC in 2006, with the 82-year-old accused of paying a 27 million pound bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during the process.
The business magnate, who is confident of remaining in F1 for many years to come, recently explained that he transferred the money after the now jailed Gribkowsky made threats to supply HM Revenue & Customs with tax information. Approaching the 2013 season, he is adamant that the situation will not result in a court appearance.
"I would be (worried) if I was guilty, but I’m not!" Ecclestone told Italy's Corriere della Sera. "Are they trying to entrap me? I don’t know and I don’t care! All I know is that people try anything when money is involved! It won’t get to me appearing in court.
Ecclestone also reacted to the comments recently made by Luca di Montezemolo, with the Ferrari President questioning his long-term Formula 1 future.
"Montezemolo is still a friend and I’m convinced that he didn’t really intend to say the things he said about me, about my age and my ability to continue to work," Ecclestone said of the 65-year-old Italian. "I’m happy – it’s just ‘role playing’!"
Ecclestone has been involved in the management of Formula 1 since 1978.