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Ecclestone trims role at F1 pending German bribery trial

Published on Jan 17, 2014 7:06 AM
This picture taken on November 10, 2011 shows Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone leaving the court in Munich, southern Germany, where a session of the trial against a former head of risk management at Bavarian bank BayernLB was held. A German court confirmed on January 16, 2014 that Ecclestone's bribery trial will begin in April 2014. Ecclestone is accused to have given tens of millions of euros to Gerhard Gribkowsky then head of risk management at the Bavarian bank Bayern LB. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday he would diminish his role in the group's operations pending the outcome of a bribery trial set to start in April.

The mop-topped 83-year-old motor-racing magnate was charged last July in relation to a US$44 million (S$56 million) payment he made to former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, which was linked to the sale of the Formula One championship rights in 2006.

"According to current plans, the trial is set to start at the end of April," the regional court in the southern German city of Munich said in a statement.

The diminutive tycoon, who turned Formula One racing into one of the world's most profitable sports events, has repeatedly denied he did anything wrong.

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