F1 ‘Supremo’ may be charged with bribery over $44 million payout

“Europe’s most glamorous sport—known for its dashing drivers, high-tech cars and exotic locales—is heading into a hairpin turn. Prosecutors in Munich are considering whether to charge Formula One Group Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone for bribery in connection with $44 million he paid to a banker in 2006-07. A decision, which has been hanging over the sport for months, is expected in the coming weeks,” David Crawford and Laura Stevens wrote yesterday for the Wall Street Journal. Crawford and Stevens continued, “An indictment of the 82-year-old, known in Formula One as ‘Supremo,’ would likely force him out of the sport he has dominated for decades as an owner, manager and public face. More worrisome for Formula One, Mr. Ecclestone’s legal troubles threaten to upend the multibillion-dollar racing circuit’s ties to major sponsors, teams and fans. Mr. Ecclestone said last week that he takes the allegations ‘very seriously’ and is ‘absolutely’ not guilty. He has acknowledged making the payment but said he only did so because he was blackmailed.” It may be remembered that Ecclestone was involved in a mugging a few years ago, “The 80-year-old billionaire was attacked outside the headquarters of his business empire Formula One Holdings in Knightsbridge, central London, on Wednesday night as Fabiana Flosi [31-year-old Brazilian girlfriend] looked on in horror.  He had to be taken to hospital with a head injury after the ambush, during which £200,000 worth of jewellery is believed to have been stolen,” the Daily Mail reported back in 2010. Read the full Wall Street Journal article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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