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Ecclestone expecting F1 bribery case to collapse

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2014 at 5:12 pm •  Published: February 7, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is still expecting his bribery case in Germany to be thrown out before the trial starts.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone is facing charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust connected with a $45 million payment to a German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky. And the Munich regional court on Friday announced that the trial will begin on April 24 and is set to run until Sept. 16.

But asked later Friday if he was concerned about the impending trial, Ecclestone responded: "Bet you it doesn't happen ... things happen in life and you have to get on with it."

Bribery convictions can result in prison sentences ranging from three months to 10 years in Germany. Ecclestone, who has denied the charges, was backed again Friday by the man he has anointed as his successor: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

"Formula One needs him more than ever at the moment," Horner said of the sport's long-time commercial chief. "So he's absolutely the right man."

Both Ecclestone and Horner were speaking at a charity auction of F1 photographs taken by drivers and team principals, raising money for a children's hospital.

Ecclestone is heading into the new season, which begins next month in Melbourne, with a diluted role in the world's premier motor sport series. Although Ecclestone will continue to run F1 on a day-to-day basis, he has been forced to step down from the sport's board while the criminal case is ongoing.

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