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Ecclestone rejects bribery charges, insists he was blackmailed

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed $44 million payment. Ecclestone said at the beginning of a four-hour personal statement read out in German by his lawyers that he was 'grateful' to be able to give his side of the story -- though he told judges that he would answer questions from the Munich state court through his lawyers, rather than personally. The 83-year-old Ecclestone is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust, and could face up to ten years in prison if convicted. The...
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