Bernie Ecclestone ‘completely agrees’ with Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, and so do ‘90 per cent of the world’, says F1 boss
In an ill-advised move, the Formula One boss gave his support for Russia’s controversial laws ahead of the first Russian Grand Prix this year
"I completely agree with those sentiments and if you took a world census you'd find 90% of the world agree with it as well."
"I've great admiration for him and his courage to say what he says," the 83-year-old added. "[It] may upset a few people but that's how the world is. It's how he sees [the world] and I think he's completely right."
The legislation, which was introduced last year, caused widespread outrage around the world, especially surrounding the current Sochi Winter Olympic Games, which has so far seen many members of the international sporting community rally together in protest.
Ecclestone's sudden show of support for the leader may have been influenced by his recent contact with the Russian regime. He first met Putin in February of last year when he flew to Sochi to check out the construction progress ahead of Russia’s very first grand prix in the city in October.
The Black Sea location will stage round 16 of this year’s world championship on a circuit that is set to run around the current Olympic Park facilities.
The F1 billionaire is also no stranger to controversy. During the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2012, while pro-democracy protests were being staged, Ecclestone told reporters questioning the ethical issues behind holding the event on the Middle Eastern island: "Go to Syria and write about those things there because it’s more important than here."
Ecclestone is due to face trial in Germany in April charged with making corrupt payments to a banker who worked alongside him on the sale of Formula 1 in 2006. The motorsports mogul denies all charges, as well as those brought against him in a civil case in London. There, he stood accused of undervaluing the sport in connection with the same deal.
He won the civil action in a court case on Thursday. Although his evidence was labelled "not reliable or truthful" by the judge presiding, it was ruled that German company Constantin Medien’s claim for compensation was without merit.
Ecclestone's daughters, Tamara and Petra Ecclestone, were approached by The Independent for comment on whether they agree with their father's views and what sort of impact his opinions could have on the rest of the family. Both, however, declined to comment.
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