#F1 Fat Hippo: Sad Joke of German Courts.

Fat Hippo’s Rant: I don’t want to live in this country anymore

Hippo

Welcome to the Federal Banana Republic of Nordschleifistan. Since late noon of August 5th Germany is officially a joke – and a bad one at that.

The rumours that Bernard Ecclestone, who can now hardly be considered anything but a career criminal, would be buying his way out of a bribery charge had been around since Friday. Despite this, there were many who believed that justice would prevail.

Alas it didn’t and the ‘system’ was perfectly manipulated by Ecclestone to not only bribe his way out of jail, but also delivered a painful blow to Mr. Gribkowsky’s nether regions. The sheer ruthlessness of this despicable individual shows in the fact that his get-out-of-jail card comes at the cost of making sure that Gribkowsky stays in it by making sure he can’t appeal his own sentence.

Then again, maybe Gribkowsky deserves everything that’s coming his way – and then some.

It all began with the fact that Mr. Gribkowsky was a corporate officer of BayernLB – and since BayernLB means “State Bank of Bavaria” – it means he was a state official. This was relevant to both trials because bribing a state official carries a much higher sentence than other bribery offences, up to 10 years for both parties.

Gribkowsky was given the task to sell BayernLB’s shares in F1 for as high a price as possible. To find willing buyers he asked the one man who could broker such a deal – B. Ecclestone.

For his services Mr. E was paid a commission of 60.000.000 Euros, of which he kicked back 44 million to Gribkowsky in the guise of ‘consultant fees’ to motivate Gribkowsky to sell to CVC.

Donald McKenzies private equity firm though offered less than the shares were actually worth, yet as a buyer they were more palatable to Mr. E’s taste as this would allow him to remain at the helm of F1.

Other bidders had ‘sack Ecclestone’ as the top item of their to-do list. As a result, CVC got the shares for 290.000.000 Euros less than what they were worth on the market. Irony of ironies, the slimy toad did not even bribe Gribkowsky with his own money – he made a 16 million profit from it!

The scandal was huge and rather uncomfortable for Bavaria’s government as they own BayernLB and the whole matter came to light just prior to a parliament election. BayernLB pressed charges of corruption, accepting a bribe and breach of trust against Gribkowsky, who was later sentenced to eight and a half years in prison by the Bavarian State Court, chaired by Judge Noll.

The eight year sentence was actually the result of mitigating circumstances for Gribkowsky’s full admission of guilt and the accompanying testimony.

Whenever there’s a bribe, there is a ‘briber’ and ‘bribee’, so dutifully the department of public prosecution Munich, headed up by chief investigator Manfred Nötzel,  pressed for charges of bribing a state official, fraud and incitement of corporate breach of trust, to be brought against Ecclestone.

The case was clear-cut. Gribkowsky had confessed and explained Ecclestone’s involvement. And Gribkowsky’s testimony, that Mr. E mocked him as “civil servant” made it clear that E knew of Gribkowskys official status.

Interestingly, the legal shysters of Mr. E argued that he could not know that Gribkowsky was a state official and would be eligible to answer for lower count of ‘ordinary bribery’.

Further, Ecclestone’s ‘tricky’ defense argued that Gribkowsky had ostensibly threatened Mr E that he would inform her Majesties Treasury about the short one’s tax skulduggery. Poor Mr E was now a victim of ze Germans.

Mmm. Difficult to believe if one makes a deal with a high-ranking official of a state-owned bank, you cannot know that he’s a state-official? If someone was so senile, he’d barely be able to navigate his way through, let’s say, a revolving door.

More irony, in room 101 in Munich the Ecclestone case is heard. The prosecution’s central witness – Gribkowsky – enters the fray. Suddenly, he doesn’t remember that E has ever called him a “civil servant” or some such derivative insult.

Suddenly, Gibkowsky is of the opinion that the deal had in fact not been disadvantageous for the bank. In fact now, this was “a monumental deal, completely without alternative”.

When a bewildered Judge asked Gribkowsky why the heck had E bothered to bribe him, the answer was, “I’ve never really asked myself that question.”

Suddenly, Gribkowsky remembered that he had actually given hints to E that the British fiscal authorities might be interested in his business dealings and that he once had left a note about the matter on Ecclestone’s desk. When Noll wanted to know what the note said, Mr. Gribkowsky’s memory short-circuited.

At that point Ecclestone and his legal eagles were actually sneering, while the state prosecutor looked rather unwell.

So why did Gribkowsky make a U-turn?

Option one is that he is still getting ‘consultant fees’.

Option Two is that E has sent word to him that he would have his parts gold-plated by a lovely bearded lady called Wolfgang, if his testimony didn’t look a little more favourably than last time.

The third – and most likely – option is, that Gribkowsky tried helping to get E acquitted, because now the state prosecution will be forced to re-open his own bribery case. Simples… no longer is there a ‘briber’, so how can there be a ‘bribee’.

It is certain after having the scare of his life, Mr E may look favorably on any further legal fees his ex-colleague may require.

Now the prosecution is in the proverbial doo dah. They can slog on for the chance of maybe getting E sentenced to two or three years, then suspended because of his  age.

However, there was also the risk Ecclestone would be acquitted,  due to crowd thrilling disappearing act of the evidence from Gribkowsky.

This would then possibly lead to Gribkowsky being acquitted on appeal, and adding insult to injury, receiving compensation for porridge time.

Backed into a corner, the prosecution took the best option available when E’s snake in the grass representatives abused §153a (Suspending prosecution of a criminal offense under conditions).

So the legal system of Germany is now seen by the world to be accepting the offered 100.000.000 bribe.

The unceremonious end leaves the unsavory prospect a crime state is aware of the culprit, but he cannot be prosecuted.

When the dust settles, E was neither acquitted, nor convicted. The perception may be that he’s just a criminal that the German state finds too bothersome a process to incarcerate.

Technically the deal done by E is acceptable under German law.

Paragraph 153 of the Code of criminal procedure has a purposeful functionality. Thousands of cases a year see normal people who have driven whilst drunk and damaged other cars while doing so. The state could start criminal proceedings but are unable to charge the driver unless they catch him while still behind the wheel.

Often the cars are only identified much later and the registered owner then claims someone other than they were driving.

Per German law, you don’t have to incriminate family members. In such cases the trial s no starting point. The owner pays a hefty fine and must attend refresher lessons in a driving school – the crime is still there but it won’t be prosecuted.

Last year nearly 150.000 trials were settled by deals according §153a. To use an #F1 analogy – the Ecclestone settlement is perfectly within the law, but light years beyond the spirit intended.

The prosecution used the cheap cop-out to make sure they don’t have to acquit Ecclestone and mitigate any counter-action from Gribkowsky.

E&G – are two criminals who have sought and found each other.

Mercedes-Benz may now be in a bit of a fix. They German’s have made great capital from threatening to withdraw from F1 were Ecclestone to remain in the sport when found guilty.

E has dodged that bullet, yet he was neither acquitted.

He just paid a hell of a lot of money to make the bad men go away.

The crime was done and Bernie did it.

Were Mercedes-Benz to follow their Corporate Compliance rules to the letter, they will have to seriously consider leaving Formula 1. Even though E has mitigated his position, this blot on his copybook means he cannot be considered ethical clean.

Back when all this came to light, Merc as an F1 competitor were a sorry state and so the threat to withdraw from the sport was of little consequence.

Now, F1 world domination is within their grasp for years to come, so their response maybe rather more muted.

However it is viewed, E’s return to the throne of F1 is disastrous news and the sycophantic slime bags, like Lauda, will sing his praises in unison, like the Vienna  boys choir performing a rendition of the hallelujah chorus.

This remains the task of the fans to voice our disapproval. Whilst CNN ‘didn’t have the balls to call this as it is, they quoted a a number of the thousands of F1 fans on twitter, describing this outcome as the ‘irony of ironies’, that sees E paying the German legal system to drop the bribery charges against him.

Yet the reality is the voice of the fans is ignored. Whiting dismissed us recently on the basis that the F1 pro’s understand more properly the effect of the regulations.

So, must we now petition the grim reaper, to see justice done, and to see F1 liberated from the torment that goes by the name of Bernard Charles Ecclestone.

Sources: Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Rundschau, Strafprozeßordnung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Comment: A very disillusioned Hippo, edited by thejudge

~ by thejudge13 on August 6, 2014.

71 Responses to “#F1 Fat Hippo: Sad Joke of German Courts.”

  1. I DEFINITELY envy Bernie his wealth & power, and the tremendous ‘business’ experience he’s amassed running an int’l sport like F1 for so long.

    I don’t envy him his age, or his seemingly reptilian nature.

    But buying his way out of a criminal bribery trial for 100 million? … I’m rendered mute.

    • What about bribing someone for 60 million and making 14 million profit. And we are happy if we manage to negotiate a 10% off if we buy something that costs 10.000€ . You can say a lot about bernie but he does know how to make money

      • Yeah, his singleminded pursuit of making money is a site to behold. I wonder if he does any actual charity with it. Brundle spoke adoringly of “personal” Bernie (ie, not the Bernie on TV), saying he’d be first to help you however he could, but I half-suspected MB was trying to get a loan or something.

        Does Ecclestone have a documented history of philanthropic or charitable giving (other than to his 2 daughters, I mean)?

        • Yes, he seems to be very willing to give donations to state officials

          • and reading the story about CSU being voted for sequential polls it reminds me of the state where I live here in Brazil, São Paulo, whose ruling party is a right wing conservative with deeply held ties with Catholic Church, since 1994 they are damaging SP financial wealth with the raising taxes, destroying the public educational system and demoralising the police forces with low wages, while sinking themselves in scandals surpassing the amount of 3 bn, as in the Metro trains, incidentally involving Siemens and Alstom from France, yet with massive support of media, bought with large ads from state, and appointing allied judges and attorneys, they are still being voted by the “paulista” population, probably the most conservative, narrow minded and racist, between the brazilian people

            and is interesting how 2 entirely different cultures, miles apart, insist in doing the same mistake

          • and reading the story about CSU being voted for sequential polls it reminds me of the state where I live here in Brazil, São Paulo, whose ruling party is a right wing conservative with deeply held ties with Catholic Church

            since 1994 they are damaging SP financial wealth with the raising taxes, destroying the public educational system and demoralising the police forces with low wages, while sinking themselves in scandals surpassing the amount of 12 bn, including 3 bn from the latest scandal of the Metro trains, incidentally involving Siemens and Alstom from France

            they hold it with massive support of media, bought with large ads from state, and appointing allied judges and attorneys, they are still being voted by the “paulista” population, probably the most conservative, narrow minded and racist, between the brazilian people

            and is interesting how 2 entirely different cultures, the bavarian an the “paulista”, miles apart, insist in doing the same mistake

  2. “…sycophantic slime bags, like Lauda…” Come on! You are overly critical here, to say the least. Anyway, your anger is fully justified regarding Mr E. I believe that the trial procedure and the verdict might backfire against Bernie.

  3. The fact that you believe in justice against the wealthy and the powerful says more about you than about the trail. I mean what did you expect. That they would say no to that amount of money. Money rules the world. ..

    • ^
      The fact that Fat Hippo and His Lordship both believe in the principle of fair and equal justice for all, however unrealistic that is to cynics, is why I respect them both.

      After travelling the world a lot, I eventually came to the conclusion that the most valid test of a society, whether primitive or advanced, is the quality of its justice system.

      Because everything else derives and evolves from that.

  4. I guess now the State of Bavaria, err, the Federal Banana Republic of Nordschleifistan can now take the proceedings of the 100m bribe and build a new F1 circuit, then negotiate a 5-year deal with Bribard worth 20m a year to pay for the hosting fee. Then it would all be squared and settled once and for all: Bribard is officially being reimbursed for his bribe, fully under German law, and Nordschleifistan gets an image boost from hosting an F1 race. Win-win, folks!

  5. Still strange they didn’t go for 100 million euro’s.

    For the rest, I didn’t see this coming.

    • That’s pretty easy. The prosecution wanted 100 mil Euro, Bernie said njet and they changed it to dollars. They insisted on a three digit number of millions for ‘cosmetic reasons’, wanting to make it look as if they at least came down hard on him financially.
      I wonder why they didn’t haggle them down to Yen.

      • Think of it as half a years earnings for some perspective….

        Ecclestone receives £100m a year from the Bambino trust … Oops sorry his ex misses… Plus salary from FOM and any bungs he can generate as ‘deposits’ from new race hosts….

      • “njet”

        Where do westerners get this strange idea that when Russians say “нет” ( http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/нет#Russian ) that they pronounce it with an obvious “i” or “j” (choose your spelling) in the middle? The way “нет” is more similar to the way “net” is pronounced in English: better drop the “i” than make a fool of yourself..

        • …..happy with that – “net” to the invasion of the Baltic states I say ;)

        • I’ve lived for four years in russia and speak fluent russian. I would say it’s you who just embarrassed himself.

          • I also speak fluent Russian (well, sort of). But for someone who actually grew up with Russian, I understand the language much differently than the way the average Westerner would after living a couple of years in Russia.

            So how do you pronounce “нет”? Technically you would be correct that there is some sort “i”/”j”-ish like impurity between “н” and “е”. However, this is simply a “softened” “н”, no more. There is simply no obvious vowel between “н” and “е” either in writing or in speaking. To give a (somewhat imperfect) analogy, a Westerner saying “njet” in Russian is akin to a French, German or a Russian saying “ze” in English (while actually meaning the all too subtle “the”). It’s bad pronunciation either way you spin it.

            So if you ever hear Putin say “нет” before pounding on the table, you better be sure that you are never going to hear an “i”/”j” in it!

          • There is a perfect english transliteration : nyet, Njet is merely the German Transliteration that I’m more used to.

          • I’ve never pronounced it en-why-et…

          • Damn judge – how do you find home in the evening without help *facepalm*

            soundless n followed by the word ‘yet’ – nyet

          • Sorry… Been brainwashed… Whenever I see ‘NY’ it can only mean two things… The Shake Shack (MSG) and Pastis ;)

          • Nah, Hippo. If the FIA ever catch Kvyat texting during a practice session, then I’m willing to bet my bottom that the “нет” transliterated into Latin alphabet (which nowadays is English alphabet), that he would have written, would read: “net”. I cannot fathom any Russian SMS containing “nyet” or “njet” in place of “net”.

            (And keep in mind that prior to the iJobs gadgets, all Russian and Arab SMS’s—at the very least—used Latin transliterations. There is no way that a Russian would write anything other than “net” when meaning “нет”, unless they were a very petty Professor with a doctorate in transliterating funny scripts.)

            “soundless n followed by the word ‘yet’ – nyet”

            As for the above, I’m not perfectly sure what you mean, but I am sure that there is no “yet” in “нет”!

          • The missus actually texted it as n’et – the apostrophe was the ultimate tool – for instance as m’akhki’ snak

          • Here’s a relevant bit for this discussion:


            :)

          • “n’et”

            Is something I can definitely see, but it’s light-years away from “nyet” or “njet” (unless of course you’re familiar with the aforementioned Thesis on transliterating funny scripts and understand its legend/key). As I mentioned earlier, the “н” in “нет” is only a “softened” “н”, no more. If you transliterate it as “nyet” or “njet”, most anyone not in the know wrt to the subtleties of Russian pronunciation is bound to read it.. weirdly.

            As for “m’akhki’ snak”, that’s a different can of pronunciation and transliteration worms. In that word, you actually have an implicit or explicit vowel in there: “мягкий”. The “я” is a diphthong comprising of “i” and “a” (or “e” and “a”, take your pick)—to the best of my knowledge (never actually learned proper Russian grammar so the proper terms may be off)—, while “й” is a “short” “i”. Even though the informal transliteration is the same in each case using ” ‘ “, the actual cases for which it stands are quite very different.

          • Let’s put it like that – you got it spectacularly wrong ;)

          • ДОСТАТОЧНО!!!

            – Дети склоки

          • Hah, coming from a Jabba! Care to elaborate?

          • You say you never learned russian grammar, yet want to lecture the world on pronunciation. I’m sure there is a chukchi tribe somewhere near Anadyr where your proposed pronounciation of various russian letters is valid, but let me tell you something – you won’t go anywhere with that in most parts of russia.

          • And that, Jabba the Hutt, is your resorting to your traditional ad hominem tactics. Invalid, full stop.

            Or, as the Judge put it, достаточно.

          • Or me just knocking you over the head because you’re annoying the wider public with a topic nobody cares about

          • “ДОСТАТОЧНО!!!

            – Дети склоки”

            Weird and fancy vocabulary, Judge. I just learned a new Russian word: http://www.wordreference.com/ruen/Склока

          • …Glad to be of service ;)

            the implication is less than a full blown fight or even heated argument – squabble

          • @TJ13

            “the implication is less than a full blown fight or even heated argument – squabble”

            I inferred as much. But I would have expected such.. esoteric vocabulary in a Tolstoy book, not on an F1 website. :)

          • That’s what google translate gave him

          • @landroni
            “I would have expected such.. esoteric vocabulary in a Tolstoy book, not on an F1 website”

            maybe it’s to do with whether you have kids or not ;)

          • @TJ13
            “maybe it’s to do with whether you have kids or not”

            Only if they were born in 13th century Kiev Rus’! Or if said kids were born to a professor of Russian literature..

          • Damn… unmasked ;)

  6. Granted that we’re all unhappy at the outcome, you’ve got to however acknowledge the canniness in which he went about it. In someways, it’s hard to blame him, because had there not been the loophole within the legal system, then he would’ve definitely been convicted.

    But in situations like this and that with his issue with HMRC, it’s these gaps within the system, that people like Mr E and others have been able to use to their advantage and that’s why he pays his lawyers and business adviser such vast sums yearly to exploit these for his benefit.

    Sure everyone should be angry with this, but I think we should focus our anger towards the apparent rule makers. After all, only they would allow the head of the HMRC to leave and join one of the big 4 accounting and auditing firms in the world and then complain when high net worth individuals like Mr E pay little or no taxes.

    If it was anyone of us in his situation and the loophole was there to be exploited, we wouldn’t have hesitated to use.

    • …. and if I was born inside Adolf’s body?

      • I understand everyone’s annoyance with this, I’m annoyed as well, but did we really expect him to convicted? The hippo already stated, that it was unlikely that he would’ve seen the inside of prison cell due to his age.

        So are we angry he got off or are we angry that yet another rich fat cat was able to worm his way out of a situation, by exploiting a system that’s suppose to be fair and just for everyone?

      • Not sure I follow that statement

      • You’d be short, have a funny moustache and only one testicle.

      • ^
        That one, M’Lud, was an unfortunate judicial error.

        I hope His Lordship is not suffering, understandably, from a hangover this morning. I was.

    • It’s not about loopholes, it’s about different countries with different laws. My country – the Netherlands – holds (head) offices for Ikea, U2, Apple and Google, to name a few. Why? Because we want a chunk of their money. So we offer them lower fixed rate taxes and they come to us.
      Other countries offer the same kind of facilities: cay man Islands, Liechtenstein etc.

      Tax avoidance is a necessity for any company, Bambino is no different.

      Really, I don’t like Bernie’s division of money, extra loans, double points, DRS and sprinklers, but you don’t have to be born Adolf to try to avoid taxes for your company.

      • Except that tax evasion is asocial. The companies profit from the infrastructure the state lets them use, so they have the same damn obligation to do their bit to finance it.

        • Infrastructure? Roads are paid by taxes on buying a car, fuel, toll, posession of a car etc. In our country enough is left to pay all kinds of other stuff, like railroads.
          For waste, wastewater, heavy metals etc you also pay.
          For cables you pay your provider.
          For healthcare you pay insurance.

          What I mean is most infrastructure – except maybe the infrastructure of government and their massive amount of employees – are paid for by other taxes, taxes which come before profit.

          So no, it’s not asocial. It’s asocial to let people pay too much tax.

          – thanks for all your replies as regular visitor I have no problems with any of them ;-)

      • “Tax avoidance is a necessity for any company, Bambino is no different.”
        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        This is a HORRIBLY unenlightened and cynical comment – I’m sorry.

        You’re a good poster, you make many good comments, but the expression of this view is a travesty b/c it is the expression of, as Hippo says, your agreement with and tolerance for wildly antisocial behavior by companies that exploit and benefit from all of the infrastructure and legal systems and defence that public tax dollars have paid for the development of, w/o then paying back into the system!

      • Play the ball chaps, not the player.

        Verstappen is correct. No laws been broken. Asocial or not, you, like he and I, vote for the morons who make the rules.

        Its only a problem if you don’t have the cash to hide in the first place.

        Finally, Obama and Angela are two of the state heads who dislike the situation the most and for obvious reasons as they are missing out on billions in taxes.

        Verstappens home is like mine. We use of the laws, legally, to allow companies to base themselves in our countries for tax reasons.

        Europe is talking about tax harmonisation for corporate taxation in the future. Once that happens we’ll have more wealth moving out of some countries into others. The wealthy will get wealthier and the poor will get poorer. Is that not asocial too?

        • Asocial or not, you, like he and I, vote for the morons who make the rules.

          What is this supposed to mean??

          I don’t vote for or support the elites who are institutionalizing injustice and corruption at the level of the nation-state.

    • If it was anyone of us in his situation and the loophole was there to be exploited, we wouldn’t have hesitated to use.

      So, if we were crooks, we’d be happy to get off ?

      That’s not exactly an earth shattering thought.

      • “So, if we were crooks, we’d be happy to get off ?”…..

        Well wouldn’t you be happy or you’d go to judge and say….

        “No I committed the crime, I deserve to be locked up?”

        No it’s not earth shattering, but it’s the reality we live in.

  7. While this case is egregious, it’s hardly grounds to leave Germany.

    After all, your former Chancellor took advantage of the same loophole:

    http://www.germanlawjournal.com/article.php?id=60

    “…Germany’s sensational party finance scandal looks to have closed its last chapter on 2 March 2001, as former Chancellor Helmut Kohl entered a plea agreement in Bonn’s Landgericht (Regional Criminal Court), requiring the legendary politician to pay a fine of DM 300,000 without having to answer the questions that lie at the heart of the 14 month criminal investigation into his acceptance of and failure to declare anonymous campaign donations. The Court resorted to an elegant procedural option that, when closely examined, raises a number of considerable concerns. In applying Section 153a of the Strafprozessordnung (German Federal Code of Criminal Procedure), the Court chose the tricky path between conviction and acquittal in a case that generated tremendous public interest and contained dramatic questions of fact and law…”

    And Bavaria itself was ruled by a confirmed crook (Franz Josef Strauss) for over a decade.

    We all have our national embarrassments – after all Ecclestone hails from over here.

    Great article, though.

  8. Spot on Fat hippo! F1 should be ashamed of having such a guy run it.

  9. Guys, firstly get your facts correct, the settlement was $100m US$ and BCE paid Gribkowsky $44m, U$ again. In the UK calling someone a “civil servant” is neither confirmation nor prior knowledge that someone works for the government, its a derisory term frequently used for belittling someone’s status or job status. I am fairly sure BCE has called many people he has found incompetent in his business dealings “civil servants”. BCE is not the first (and will not be the last) to use this type of settlement to end something that was, even in the opinion of the prosecutor, not going anywhere. In fact BCE may have actually saved the prosecution a large omelette on their faces by agreeing to this settlement. The settlement amount was in direct proportion to BCE’s wealth, not because it was BCE, and the same ratio rules would apply to a low paid worker (and frequently does in Germany). Far from this being an isolated incident, this rule was used in excess of 100,000 times, just in the last year! BCE has the same rights as others to settle matters this way. Why shouldn’t he or should we make up rules that specially apply to the rich only? Now that really would be the proletariat finally winning!

    As to Bayern LB being a state bank, yes that may be the technical definition and where its ultimate shareholder may be but it doesn’t trade as one or indeed hide behind the state ownership in the banking world. No BLB is out there with the best doing mega deals all day long with your Barclays, HSBCs, Citi Banks and the rest of banking “A” list. To really believe the argument that Gribkowsky was state official would be to accept that your local Royal Bank of Scotland (also “state” owned) manager is a “government/state official”, really guys get a life.

    BLB is to all intents and purposes a “commercial” bank playing in a commercial world. After all how did they come to own the shares in the first place? The lent money (a lot of money) to company (Kirsch Media) who wanted to buy the shares and took a charge over the shares as collateral for the loan. The loan defaulted and BLB ended up with the shares.

    Furthermore, long before BLB even had the shares BCE had a veto (much like Ferrari has with F1 rules) as to who could end up with the shares when they were sold, and by this I mean ALL the shares in F1. This meant he could decide who the ultimate buyer would be as long as it was for a fair market price, notwithstanding the amount of the offer. I do believe this veto is still valid today. The Constantin Media court case in London prior to this hearing already established beyond doubt that the amount paid by CVC was fair and reasonable, in fact more than fair!

    As to whether justice was done or not, try reading some of Gribkowsky’s own testimony where he openly admitted to taunting BCE about reporting his affairs to the tax authorities even though he had no basis or evidence to do so. He said he felt it was light-hearted and just not really serious. Please believe me if you have BCE’s wealth you don’t take those kind of comments light-heartedly, you start sweating and remember the last billionaire friend who had a visit from HMRC that cost many, many millions in fees and time, even though nothing was found. No, you offer him some small (yes folks in banking terms that was “small”) fee to shut him up and make him go away.

    This whole affair should never have happened and it was all down to incompetent investigation in the first instance.

    I will also leave you with a last thought. You only have F1 today (and for the last 40 years or so) and the fact that it is the pinnacle of world motorsport, to be able to slag off people like BCE, precisely because of the efforts of BCE!

    Without what he did in commercialising the sport, F1 would now most likely be a footnote in motorsport history, driven out of business by costs that could only be met by gentlemen drivers who had the funds to run a car. It would not employ upwards of 20,000 people directly and another 80,000 indirectly, and I am not even talking about the spinoff series or the people that work on the events. It would not be one of the biggest automotive employers in the UK or be responsible for some of the most notable R&D in day to day motoring. The whole carbon fibre industry today in aviation owes its existence to F1.

    No, I think people should be very grateful for what BCE has done for F1 and many of the people who criticise him today should remember where their job and/or personal wealth has come from and whether or not, without BCE, they would have that job/wealth today?

    • ….. @Graham
      “I think people should be very grateful for what BCE has done for F1″

      If he hadn’t done it, someone less crooked would have…. after all there about 6 billion of them on planet earth.

    • My dad gets a Civil Service pension, are the government also ‘belittling’ his 35yesr effort. Anyone who works for a government agency is a Civil servant, I’ve never heard it used in a derogatory manner.

    • I think people should be very grateful for what BCE has done for F1

      Either you have a sense of humour, you work for the man… or you are B C Ecclestone.

      Just because Ecclestone made some shrewd deals several decades ago doesn’t mean that the entire industry owes its continued existence to him.

      Not does it mean he should get a free pass on whatever dubious dealing he decides to engage in.

    • Can’t really argue with much of that bar the fact that it doesn’t comment on some of Bernie’s shady dealings over the years, and the fact that he’s used slight of hands to get off.

      The issue I have is that he’s stacked the deck too much in his favour, and uses his tremendous wealth to get himself off the hook.

      There’s no checks and balances with him. No proper corporate governance. No paper trails. And that’s not right, as it allows manipulation of wealth the detriment of the state, and its people.

      An amount of money is required to run UK PLC. Bernie doesn’t pay his portion. So the unwashed little people have to make up the balance. And that is reprehensible. And when you take into account the charade that is the bambino trust, it’s fraud. And theft.

      Hes a very lucky man I don’t run the HMRC.

      One final point. Bernie had very little to do with all the supporting industries that now make up F1 INC. They are a consequence of F1, not Bernie’s vision. In fact, I’m totally certain if he could make a couple of hundred million by moving F1 INC to the middle east he’d do it in a heartbeat.

      Its all about the deal with Bernie, and not the consequence of the deal unless it directly effects him.

    • My friend, some great comments and I can’t argue any of them apart from the last section. Motor-sport and F1 existed before he ever became involved and it will continue to exist when he has long gone.
      F1 may be the biggest global televised motor-sport series but there are many disciplines manufacturers compete in without touching F1.

      Ferrari may be the biggest draw in the F1 world, but before F1 dominated everything motor-sport, Ferrari focused on the World Endurance championship and all their resources were directed to that until Le Mans had passed. Only then did the single seaters get full funding.

      Bernie was/ is a wheeler dealer and he saw that F1 was run by a bunch of amatuers. Only Enzo Ferrari understood how to play the circuits for better start money. So Bernie was allowed to take over. Shrewd and cunning.

      • Agreed Carlo.

        I probably did a poor job of it, but what I was trying to infer was that Bernie doesn’t care about suppliers, jobs, teams etc. He’d move anything, anywhere, if he could to make more money for himself.

        Thankfully he doesn’t have that clout!

        Love your new handle btw, Carlos the jackal. Super stuff!!

    • Sorry Graham, but the aerospace carbon fiber business was developed long before F1 started using it. In fact, many teams didn’t use the technology for a while concerned that the material would shatter on impact. McLaren developed a carbon chassis in 1980 and had the pieces built in the US by an aerospace company in Utah; the name slips my mind. The prepreg materials already existed and were being used to build aerospace structures such as engine nacelles, etc. Give credit where credit is due. I’m an ex aerospace composite tooling guy so I know of what I speak.

    • Well said (apart from the rather silly final bit on Bernie’s contribution to F1)

    • too long

      lol…

  10. That is the best Hippo Rant to date, nice 1 Danilo, at least someone knows how to call a spade a spade!

    • Welcome back FH – I have missed your rants – informative and entertaining at the same time

  11. Very good article Danilo. Chapeau!

  12. What Did You Expect ?

    There Is No Death Penalty In EUROPE.

    If Rich People Did Not Get Away With Anything And Everything, You Probably Would Not Have A Job.

    What Do You Do With An 80+ Year Old In Prison ?

    If His Health Was Damaged In The Slightest, His Family Would Sue The State For Far More Billions Than Those The State Could Take From Him.

    Lose, Lose Situation.

    This Is Crapitalism At Its Best – Live With It.

    GO, 44 !

  13. I was originally drawn to Tj13 by its, then, refreshing approach to reporting on F1. Compared to other sites, I found both the apparent insider knowledge and news focus to be spot on. Fast forward 16 months or so and I have to say I am now rather underwhelmed. The typographic and grammatical errors now make the stories less interesting, less trustworthy. I ask, if this is how much they care about the written piece maybe they have a similar approach to the credibility of the story, sources etc.

    This has crystalised in the reporting of the Ecclestone trial.

    The above article is factually incorrect on so many levels it is to be laughed at, along with the rather pathetic insults and accusations of the guilt of Mr E.

    Mr E has duped the UK legal system, the German one, countless governments, HMRC and even the Daddy of all private equity behemoths, CVC – who are only allowed to make their substantial profits if they are “clean” thanks to mountains of corporate governance that they have to adhere to – all over the world.

    Like it or not, the facts are the cases were not proven and there was no substantiation of guilt. Your team may not like the fact that the UK and Germany have access to some of the finest legal brains on the planet. You may not like the fact that neither jurisdiction had found Mr E guilty of anything. But these are facts. Something “journalists” find difficult to accept when they embark on stream of consciousness rant about something. Spoils the story, right?

    Many of your readers lap it up as it reinforces their own perception of events – Mr E is an avaricious, greedy, slimy, etc…..

    I now longer do and whilst I still find your reporting of races good, I am more than tired of the factless opinionated rants, full of typos and basic grammatical errors.

    Come back, the original TJ13!

    • As someone who has been involved in F1, for a plethora of reasons, Ecclestone is now disastrous for the sport – regardless of previous successes… So our view is accordingly biased towards this opinion…

      There are many within the sport who feel the same way….

      If you want a “he said, she said” level of “unbiased”, sit on the fence type reporting, TJ13 will disappoint you….

      TJ13 is anti establishment… And F1 may be the most obvious sporting global target for this kind of viewpoint to be a reasonable position….

      Beyond farce….

      I don’t know when you first read TJ13, but our polemic is and has been constant…. Anti hero worship….

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