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GP Week : Issue 142
F1 NEWS >> BeRNIe ecclestone may be called to Munich for a repeat appearance in front of the German court hearing the Gribkowsky case if testimony from his former lawyer contradicts the F1 boss’ statements. Lawyer Stephen Mullens was on the board of a number of Ecclestone’s F1 companies, but resigned from them all in September with no explanation. Mullens has also been called to testify in the Gribkowsky fraud hearings, and it is thought that his statements will raise questions about the comments made by Ecclestone last week. Mullens, Gribkowsky, and Slavica Ecclestone were all described by Bernie Ecclestone as being drinking partners; the Formula One supremo said that Gribkowsky had used their drinking sessions as part of a sophisticated shakedown but didn’t implicate his former lawyer in his claims of blackmail. Ecclestone did admit, however, that his relationship with Mullens had “deteriorated a little while ago”. Mullens served on the board of Bambino Holdings, the family trust that is the centre of the blackmail claims. Both he and Ecclestone are under investigation following Ecclestone’s admission that he had paid banker Gerhard Gribkowsky ‘hush money’ when the German threatened to reveal alleged improprieties in the trust to British tax authorities. Given the apparent bad blood between Ecclestone and Mullens, it is thought that the lawyer’s testimony could prove damaging. Mullens to testify For your daily dose of Formula 1 news ... The Abu Dhabi paddock was filled with a delegation of officials from the Bahrain Grand Prix, headed up by Crown Prince Salman bin hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The Crown Prince joined Bernie Ecclestone in the media centre to talk to journalists about the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, which both men were confident would take place in April as originally scheduled. Speaking to the assembled media, both parties were confident that the 2012 race would be a peaceful event, untroubled by protests. “ We believe there’s no problem, it’s on the calendar and we are going to be there,” Ecclestone insisted. Al Khalifa called the Bahrain Grand Prix an event of national unity, and talked of its importance to the Bahraini people, 15,000 of whom have signed a petition calling for the race’s reinstatement. “ There are certainly things that happened in our country that nobody is proud of, but we have an important report coming out on 23 November, and that will really give us a narrative on the truth that we can accept and move on,” the Crown Prince said. “As a force for moderation, sport is a great unifier. The race is seen as the prime symbol of moderation in the country. Anyone with a moderate agenda, a global agenda, knows that race is what ties Bahrain to the world. “Extremists on either side might disagree, but the majority of people, especially those that love their country and want it to be part of the world, support it and they will have my support for that,” he concluded. Bahrainis make goodwill visit to AbDab paddock Bernie gives evidence in Gribkowsky trial Bambino. In recent days, Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue have announced that they will investigate the structure of the trust. Asked by one journalist in Abu Dhabi if he plans to return to Munich, Bernie replied: “Maybe for Oktoberfest.” 11