The BBC reports a former banker has testified to receiving $44 million in bribes from Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone. Gerhard Gribkowsky, the former deputy chief of regional bank Bayern Landesbank, testified in exchanged for a reduced sentence in the case against him. Gribkowsky faced up to 15 years in prison on charges of corruption and abuse of trust. Prosecutors agreed to reduce his maximum penalty to nine years behind bars in exchange for his testimony. Gribkowsky was in charge of the sale of BayernLB's stake in F1 back in 2006.
Seven months ago, Ecclestone testified under immunity that he had paid Gribkowsky in order to avoid a tax inquiry by the United Kingdom. The F1 executive denies that the payments were bribes, but says that if he had not paid, Gribkowsky would have told UK tax authorities about issues with the sale that could have led to an inquiry. That investigation could have cost more than $3.14 billion.