Bernie Ecclestone has officially stepped down from his position on the board of directors of the Formula One empire, following an announcement that he faces a trial in a German court for bribery. According to a report from Autoweek, Ecclestone will retain his day-to-day responsibilities within F1.

You'll recall that Ecclestone was indicted in Germany on bribery charges six months ago for allegedly paying a German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, $41.6 million to deliberately undervalue shares in Formula One as part of a 2006 sale from Bayern Landesbank to a group called CVC Capital Partners. The sale to CVC would have allowed Ecclestone to maintain his stranglehold over the sport by preventing it from falling into the hands of German media group Constantin Medien. Ecclestone has claimed throughout the ordeal that the money paid to Gribkowsky wasn't a bribe, and instead, says that he was being blackmailed by the banker over some tax information.

Ecclestone stands accused of bribery and incitement to breach of trust, according to a statement from the Bavarian district court. The latter charge is because the court alleges the money paid to Gribkowsky was covered up as payments for consultancy contracts.

Constantin Medien has also brought a $147-million civil case against Ecclestone in his home country of Great Britain, claiming that the sale of F1 to CVC led it to financial losses.

A trial date has not been set yet, according to the BBC, although Ecclestone will be required to appear in court. We'll be sure to follow up on this story as more information becomes available.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      About bloody time. Bernie, don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bernie, it's time to buy a kilo of blow and go out with a bit of style. You're way past your sell by date anyway.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wait, it's not legal to pay a firm or an individual to over or under-value an asset for personal gain? Nobody tell that to Moody's or the other big credit rating agencies. That is their raison d'etre.
      • 1 Year Ago
      40 million bribe must have been for some real money -lol! What a friggin money machine this guy is!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good. The ugliness quotient of F1 just went down quite a few points.
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Finally! Begone, oh foul little troll! Begoooooooooone!!!
        • 1 Year Ago
        "Ecclestone will retain his day-to-day responsibilities within F1." Bernie is a long way from gone, I'm afraid. The only thing that will remove the grip of his bony fingers from F1 is the sweet embrace of death...
      Andre Neves
      • 1 Year Ago
      You guys are expecting for something to happen? Seriously? He's rich and powerful. You will get away with it and he will be back, Mark my word.
      • 1 Year Ago
      He's just another rich white guy who won't go to prison.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Judging by his face, he just caught whiff of the fart I shot in his direction.
        • 1 Year Ago
        I can't believe that anybody down-voted a Monty Python quote.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Awesome hair-do.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good. **** 'im.
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