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Banker arrested over $50m F1 rights kickback

The banker accused of taking a $50 million bribe amid the sale of F1’s commercial rights five years ago has been arrested.

It emerged earlier this week that as the rights were passing from the controlling Bayerische Landesbank to CVC Capital Partners, the Munich bank’s F1 representative Gerhard Gribkowsky may have received the sum as an under the table ‘thankyou’.

The speculation emerged due to his formation of a charity foundation in Austria, with reports saying Gribkowsky had “no plausible explanation” about the source of the millions.

Munich prosecutors confirmed late on Wednesday that Gribkowsky was arrested and taken into custody on charges of corruption, tax fraud and breach of trust by selling the F1 rights “without evaluation of its current value” and taking the kickback.

The prosecutors did not say who paid the 52-year-old, and a spokesman for F1’s current rights owners CVC initially declined to comment.

But a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said Gribkowsky received the money “in payments disguised via two consultancy agreements”.

CVC then said in a statement that it has “no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Mr Gribkowsky or anyone connected with him in relation to CVC’s acquisition of formula one”.