Facing bribery charges, Bernie Ecclestone, chief of Formula One racing, has stepped down from the board of the company that runs the sport, Delta Topco, until the case concludes.
Ecclestone will continue to run the sport franchise on a day-to-day basis, but he will cease being the board’s director and be subject to increased monitoring and control by the board during the duration of the litigation.
Ecclestone is accused of giving a $45 million (£27.5 million) bribe in 2006 to a German banker who is serving a jail sentence for receiving the payment. Prosecutors allege that the payment to Gerhard Gribkowsky was to ensure that F1 was sold to a private equity group of Ecclestone’s choosing and allow Ecclestone to retain control of the sport.
Ecclestone admits paying Gribkowsky, but he denies bribery and argues that he was the victim of blackmail because Gribkowsky threatened to reveal false details of his tax affairs.
The trial is scheduled to begin in late April.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.