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GP Week : Issue 128
10 Ecclestone denies Briatore linked to Gribkowsky affair FORMER Renault F1 chief and Italian businessman Flavio Briatore has nothing to do with the Gribkowsky bribe case despite making a payment on Bernie Ecclestone’s behalf, the Formula One boss insists. The Gribkowsky bribe scandal centres on the assertion that German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was paid £27 million by Ecclestone during the 2005 sale of Formula One’s commercial rights. Ecclestone admits to making the payment, but has implied he was being extorted. Speaking to British tabloid the Daily Express, Ecclestone acknowledged that he had asked the Italian to make a payment to Gribkowsky on his behalf, but said that Briatore had absolutely nothing to do with the Gribkowsky affair. “In no shape or form is Briatore involved in this,” Ecclestone told the paper. “He did make a payment for me but only because I asked him after this man Gribkowsky threatened to make trouble for me and said he did not want the money paid direct from the UK. “Briatore did me a favour and, far from being dragged into this, I told the German prosecutor about it. That is how his name has appeared.” Ecclestone and Briatore have long been friends and business partners; the two men currently own the Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club and are rumoured to be interested in selling it to Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes. Below: Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 Supremo, Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky (GER) the majority shareholder of SLEC Holdings and Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault Team Principal. Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, 4 September 2005.