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Author Topic: Bernie paid team bosses to sign  (Read 2639 times)

Offline Dare

Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« on: November 08, 2013, 12:15:42 PM »
from Planet F1

I hope if found guilty they don't use his age
for a light sentence.Maybe Prost and Jordon
will visit on visiting days


Bernie Ecclestone has in the past paid team bosses personally in order to get them to sign Concorde Agreements, it emerged in his High Court case.

Ecclestone is in court this week after being sued by former F1 shareholder Constantin Medien, who alleges that he undervalued the sport when BayernLB bank sold their share to CVC.

The 83-year-old stands accused of entering a "corrupt bargain" with former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is currently serving an eight-and-a-half year sentence for accepting a bribe to the tune of $44 million from Ecclestone.

However, according to Philip Marshall QC, representing Constantin, Ecclestone is not against paying bribes to smooth the way.

The Telegraph reports that on Thursday, Marshall stated that former team bosses Eddie Jordan, Alain Prost and Tom Walkinshaw had 'all received bankers' drafts from Valper Holdings, a subsidiary of Bambino Holdings, Ecclestone's family trust' to the sum of $10 million. The trio were paid in order to get them to sign the 1998 Concorde Agreement.

"They were paid to ensure that their teams did sign. Isn't that right?" Marshall asked to which Ecclestone answered "yes."

Pressed as to why the money was not paid to the teams, Ecclestone said he did "not the slightest idea.

"I've no idea. They were paid to sign the Concorde Agreement and that's what they did.

"What you're inferring is these people haven't been acting correctly, Alain Prost and whatever."

According to the The Guardian, the F1 supremo was then asked: "Did you regard the payment of a bribe to someone who is not a public official as something that is acceptable?"

Ecclestone answered: "I'll have to think about that. I wish I'd thought about it before actually."

The case continues on Friday.


"The
democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are
willing to work and give to those who would not."
--
Thomas
Jefferson

Offline Alianora La Canta

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2013, 01:23:51 PM »
I knew there'd been some sweeteners used in getting the 1998 Concorde Agreement but didn't realise any of them were potentially illegal - or that Bernie Ecclestone knew so little about them. Remember, the law in 1998 regarding private "bribes" was much more lax than in 2005 (the time concerning Bernie's primary alleged crimes), let alone 2013.

I'm not even sure the 1998 stuff could be prosecuted against due to time limitations (they'd be purely private contracts, which have a 6-year statute of limitations on them in the UK, a 5-year limit in France and - I think - 10 years in Switzerland). I suspect it's been introduced to establish a pattern of behaviour for Bernie, to imply that by 2005, he'd forgotten to change his ways to reflect the changed legal position.
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

Offline Jericoke

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2013, 03:04:04 PM »
I'm probably a better F1 driver than lawyer, but I have a feeling these proceedings are going to be exceedingly complicated, and instead of a clear cut legal/illegal, it will be a question of the line between immoral and illegal.

Paying someone to take money... it feels odd that would be illegal.  I totally see where it's immoral, and why people would feel the need to see the people who throw around millions and billions of dollars like it was a play thing punished. 

But at the end of the day, as long as it's Bernie's money (which doesn't seem to be in question), he can do as he wishes, right?

Offline John S

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 09:23:18 PM »

Anyway these proceedings in the high court in London are a civil case and unless Bernie is found guilty of contempt of court it's only money at stake and not his liberty.
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Dare

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 11:53:35 PM »

Anyway these proceedings in the high court in London are a civil case and unless Bernie is found guilty of contempt of court it's only money at stake and not his liberty.

rats
"The
democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are
willing to work and give to those who would not."
--
Thomas
Jefferson

vintly

  • Guest
Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2013, 11:29:10 AM »
Bernie? Illegal payments? What on earth surely not!

I'm glade it provides some interest to a season that is now fizzling out like last night's fireworks. I just hope that the current financial malaise in the sport doesn't mean the whole of F1 is slowly fizzling out.

Offline cosworth151

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2013, 06:37:26 PM »
Actually, he just gave them a coupon for a $10 million mail-in rebate.
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

Offline John S

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2013, 08:21:31 PM »
Bernie? Illegal payments? What on earth surely not!


Not sure that these payments are illegal. Bernie needed these teams to sign a Concorde agreement that offered them little chance of making real money, but requiring a big financial outlay; the system is as we all know stacked in favour of the top teams.

Without them signing up Bernie had no way of forcing them to show up at GPs on a regular basis. After all he has to ensure a certain size grid to fulfil his huge money making contract with the FIA.

Signing a contract that offers you very little reward but can cost you an arm & leg, if not the shirt off your back, is certainly a lot more appealing when you get a signing on bonus.

 
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Alianora La Canta

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2013, 05:31:01 PM »
I'm 100% certain that the 1998 payments were either legal or timed-out, and 95% sure that they were both. Team bosses have no special anti-bribery laws imposed on them and in any case, bribery rules were a lot looser in 1998 than 2005 (the main incident's time of occurrence).

However, the same actions done with Gribowsky in 2005 would probably be illegal (at least on my reading of the law). Bankers, by 2005, were required to take special measures to avoid accepting bribes in exchange for illegal actions. A German court has found that Gribowsky's actions following the alleged bribe were illegal and gave him a prison sentence as a result. So if Bernie paid Gribowsky money for it, then by definition Bernie would have committed a crime.

It is possible the prosecution is not mentioning the 1998 incidents with the hope that the judge will issue a fine for an event that is probably legal and also timed-out. Instead, it is perhaps trying to show that Bernie forgot the rules were different for team principals compared to bankers, had failed to move on with the times and basically blundered into illegal territory. If so, then Bernie's bizarre courtroom behaviour is feeding the prosecutors, which I doubt is his intention.

It is true that the British case is civil and can only consume Bernie's money. However, there's a parallel German case which is waiting on the results of Bernie's trial here. If a guilty verdict is secured, then the true penalty is not the fine Bernie may receive, or the rescindment of the right to hold a company directorship (which may also be possible, and would end his control of the jungle of F1-related companies). It is that the information a judge confirms could fuel a guilty verdict in the German case against Bernie. That one is sufficiently severe that it could end Bernie's liberty if the judge convicts Bernie and is having a bad day at sentencing. (If it makes you feel better, even if Bernie is not jailed, Germany practices the concept of fines proportional to wealth in some cases...)
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

Offline John S

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2013, 07:47:14 PM »
I think you'll find that the conviction of Gribowsky was a technical one, late in the day he chose to plead guilty to the charges of the court rather than risk the possibility of a fresh charge of blackmail being levied against him. The court accepted his guilty plea, therefore they never ruled on the case as such - although accepting the plea legally allows the payment to be called bribery.  :confused:

The German court have taken a very odd route with all of this, it's more usual to put all the parties to a case like this in court at the same time. Having separate cases could allow an earlier conviction of one of the alleged wrongdoers to prejudice future proceedings IMHO.

I'm not certain of the legal system in Germany but Bernie's defence of making the payment as blackmail may need to be investigated fully should they seek to continue with a court case over paying the bribe.

Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 07:46:12 AM »
Bernie claims his defense has already cost him 20 million pounds.
Lonny

Offline Alianora La Canta

Re: Bernie paid team bosses to sign
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 12:32:39 PM »
I think you'll find that the conviction of Gribowsky was a technical one, late in the day he chose to plead guilty to the charges of the court rather than risk the possibility of a fresh charge of blackmail being levied against him. The court accepted his guilty plea, therefore they never ruled on the case as such - although accepting the plea legally allows the payment to be called bribery.  :confused:

The German court have taken a very odd route with all of this, it's more usual to put all the parties to a case like this in court at the same time. Having separate cases could allow an earlier conviction of one of the alleged wrongdoers to prejudice future proceedings IMHO.

I'm not certain of the legal system in Germany but Bernie's defence of making the payment as blackmail may need to be investigated fully should they seek to continue with a court case over paying the bribe.

If Gribowsky pleaded guilty - regardless of the reason - then the fact of his guilt can be used against Ecclestone and can be relied upon fully by the court. After all, if the action had been legal, Gribowsky would not have pleaded guilty. At least, that's how the law sees it.

The fact that few of the details got pinned down means that the court is free to pin them down as and when they become relevant in other cases. Facts not relevant to the other cases need not be heard (and need not waste the court's time), since in its view they'd simply be supporting an already-known fact.

Germany had already started the bribery case, but paused it months ago to let the UK case come through. If guilt is proven, the German court can simply rely on the guilt proven in the UK and any facts revealed there, to pursue its separate cases (also making its trial of Bernie that much shorter). This is likely why the individuals got split - since the case has started, and this is not Italy, the case cannot "time out" for any given individual until the court has ruled on their guilt or innocence. It also means other people can be tried without Bernie holding up the entire case. They can always sue the others involved for perjury if they lie.

Incidentally, Gribowsky could still get a fresh charge of blackmail against him if Ecclestone's case (or any other) indicates that a separate charge is merited - assuming there is no time-out involved. Whether the German court would bother in such a case is another matter entirely.
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

 


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