Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone stands with his lawyers as he arrives in court in Munich April 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Michaela Rehle)
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Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone denied bribery allegations Thursday when he went on trial in Germany in a case that threatens to break the Briton's decadeslong dominance of the motor sport.Prosecutors have charged Ecclestone, 83, with bribing banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale eight years ago of a stake in Formula One to private equity firm CVC. The prosecution, in a 24-page statement, told the packed courtroom that Ecclestone channeled $44 million to former BayernLB banker Gribkowsky for having helped to safeguard his position as head of Formula One.Uncertainty over his future makes it hard to revisit stalled efforts to launch a stock market flotation of Formula One, after a planned listing in Singapore was abandoned because of turbulent markets two years ago.Ecclestone, in a dark suit, listened through an interpreter as his lawyer read a lengthy statement in German to the court, setting out his own version of events surrounding the 2005-6 sale of Formula One.
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