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CRIME

Ecclestone’s F1 banker blackmail claim bolstered

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone's allegation that he was blackmailed into paying a German banker millions of dollars for the commercial rights of the sport have been backed by a former colleague of the banker.

Ecclestone's F1 banker blackmail claim bolstered
Photo: DPA

The website of Der Spiegel news magazine reported on Saturday that Gerhard Gribkowsky, the former head of risk management at Bavarian bank BayernLB, has been charged with corruption, abuse of confidence and tax evasion, after overseeing the sale of BayernLB’s commercial rights stake to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in early 2006.

Ecclestone, who is CEO and president of F1’s governing body, has admitted to paying Gribkowsky a total of $44 million in 2006 and 2007 from himself and his family holding company Bambino Trust – but he says they were payments because he was being blackmailed and not bribes as has been claimed.

Gribkowsky, whose trial is set to get under way on October 24 in Munich, denies the charges.

However, according to Der Spiegel, the former colleague of Gribkowsky told investigators that she had received in 2004 a compromising document detailing links between Ecclestone and Bambino which she then passed on to Gribkowsky.

Later, Gribkowsky is claimed to have taken the incriminating document to Ecclestone’s office in London and the 80-year-old Englishman is alleged to have preferred to pay him rather than face an in-depth investigation of his family’s wealth by the British tax man.

“I was scared,” Ecclestone is reported to have told investigators.

Gribkowsky says he knows of no such document and the investigators have not uncovered it either according to the magazine.

AFP/mry

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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