F1 and Corruption
Corruption has to be dealt with using the strongest possible penalties. Unfortunately, in a corruption case in F1 sale, not many companies have come forward to speak against it.
On 27th June, Gerhard Gribkowsky was convicted by a German Court as it was found that he has taken 44 million USD in bribe from Bernie Ecclestone for the sale of F1 and failing to pay tax on that 44 million USD. Gerhard Gribkowsky was the risk manager in Bayern Landesbank and played a key role in the sale of F1 to Bernie Ecclestone's favourite candidate. At this point of time Bernie Ecclestone faces no charges as the case was limited to tax fraud. Bernie Ecclestone was reported to have submitted to the court that he was blackmailed to pay the money. German Chief Prosecutor Christoph Rodler had told the court that "Ecclestone was not a victim of blackmail, rather a co-perpetrator in bribery." He had further said that "Gribkowsky did not receive a consultant fee, rather bribery payments" from Bernie Ecclestone.
Unfortunately, despite this case going on for sometime, the F1 teams didn't speak out against corruption. Now for the first time after the formal conviction of Gerhard Gribkowsky, Daimler group has come strongly spoken out and have demanded a thorough enquiry.
Since Bernie Ecclestone controls the F1 with a very strong hand, he is not likely to agree to a thorough probe into the events surrounding the sale of F1 by Bayern LB. It is reported in a German paper Handelsblatt that Daimler has said "does not tolerate the immoral or corrupt practices of its employees or its business partners." It may so happen that Daimler who owns the Mercedes team may pull out of F1.
Daimler coming out strongly against corruption will also enhance its reputation, especially in the developing countries where the perception is that companies from developed countries blame third world countries like India and China for corruption but themselves do nothing to stop it. It appears finally a company is walking the talk as far as corruption is concerned.
The last word on this issue is yet to be spoken on F1 and corruption...