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F1’s Ecclestone ‘faces German bribery charges’

British Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone might soon find himself in front of a Munich court, as it emerged on Tuesday that bribery charges are apparently due to be filed against him before the end of the month.

F1's Ecclestone 'faces German bribery charges'
Photo: DPA

Ecclestone is suspected of giving a $44 million bribe to top German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, jailed ex-chairman of BayernLB bank, which was once the majority shareholder in Formula One. Authorities have been looking into the claims for the past two years.

The investigation is, the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily found out, now complete and a Munich court is gearing up to file charges against 83-year-old Ecclestone. They could be in place even by the end of this week or, at the latest, by the end of the month.

Ecclestone claims that he gave Gribkowsky money because he was being blackmailed. His lawyers are expected to use this argument to try and prevent the court bringing the charges to trial.

If judges do decide that the charges warrant trial, it looks unlikely that Ecclestone will appear in court before the autumn, if only because everything has to be translated into English for his legal team.

The next time Ecclestone will visit Germany is for the Formula One race at the Nürburgring track, in July. It remains unclear whether he will step down from his role, Süddeutsche Zeitung said. This may become more clear as the case progresses.

The Local/jcw

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COURTS

Woman on trial over killing spree at Potsdam care home

The trial began on Tuesday of a woman accused of stabbing four residents to death and severely injuring another at a German care home for disabled people where she worked outside Berlin.

Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam.
Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Soeren Stache

Named as Ines Andrea R., the 52-year-old suspect is charged with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder following the bloodbath at the Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus facility in Potsdam, Brandenburg, in April.

The victims, two women and two men aged between 31 and 56, were found dead in their rooms after being stabbed with a knife, with police saying they had been subjected to “intense, extreme violence”.

Ines Andrea R. is also accused of trying to kill two further residents and of seriously injuring another, a woman aged 43.

She was detained immediately after the incident and placed in urgent psychiatric care due to what prosecutors described as “pertinent evidence” of severe mental illness.

Around 100 police officers were involved in recovering evidence at the scene.

READ ALSO: Women in custody over killings at Potsdam disabled home

The Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus, run by the Lutheran Church’s social welfare service, specialises in helping those with physical and mental disabilities, including blind, deaf and severely autistic patients.

It offers live-in care as well as schools and workshops.

Around 65 people live at the residence, which employs more than 80 people.

Germany has seen a number of high-profile murder cases from care facilities.

In the most prominent trial, nurse Niels Högel was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison for murdering 85 patients in his care.

READ ALSO: Missed chances: How Germany’s killer nurse got away with 85 murders

Högel, believed to be Germany’s most prolific serial killer, murdered patients with lethal injections between 2000 and 2005, before he was eventually caught in the act.

Last year, a Polish healthcare worker was sentenced to life in prison in Munich for killing at least three people with insulin.

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