15 May 2014

Ecclestone lawyers face wait to question key prosecution witness

5:22 am on 15 May 2014

Lawyers for Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone will have to wait until late July for their chance to cross-examine a jailed former banker who is the key prosecution witness in the billionaire Briton's bribery trial.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, former chief risk officer at German state-owned bank BayernLB, has told a court in Munich that Ecclestone bribed him when they worked together in the motor sport.

Ecclestone is accused of channelling $50 million to the German for smoothing the sale of a stake in Formula One held by BayernLB to the private equity firm CVC eight years ago.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone, who denies wrongdoing, could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty and a conviction would end his long grip on a business he helped to create.

Ecclestone's lawyers wanted to challenge Gribkowsky's version of efforts today but little time was available after his evidence had taken up two and a half days.

The judge set July 30th as the date for cross-examination to save having to reschedule other witness appearances.