MUNICH (AP) — Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone goes on trial in Munich on Thursday on bribery charges that could lead to a prison term of up to 10 years if he is convicted.
The trial could spell the end of the 83-year-old Ecclestone's career running F1, which he turned into a billion dollar business.
Here are five things to know about the trial:
THE CHARGES: Ecclestone is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust "in an especially grave case" over a $44 million payment to a German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, that prosecutors allege was meant to facilitate the sale of the Formula One Group to a buyer of Ecclestone's liking. Gribkowsky has already been found guilty of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust and is serving an 8 1/2-year prison sentence. Ecclestone acknowledged as a witness during Gribkowsky's trial that he made the payment to avoid being reported by the banker to authorities over his tax affairs but has denied any wrongdoing.
THE JUDGE: Peter Noll was the judge who tried and convicted Gribkowsky and he is also the presiding judge in Ecclestone's case. Ecclestone testified during Gribkowsky's trial in 2011, and Gribkowsky is expected to be the main witness during Ecclestone's trial, which is scheduled to last until Sept. 16. In Germany, cases are considered by a panel of judges rather than by a jury.