Ecclestone Headed for $100M Settlement in F1 Bribery Trial
6 Août 2014 - Autoblog
Formula One bigwig Bernie Ecclestone has opened his wallet to finally put an end to his trial for alleged bribery in Germany.
According to Britain's The Telegraph citing the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the controversial racing magnate offered a 60 million pound- ($100 million-) settlement to put the case behind him. Deutsche Welle is reporting that state prosecutors have accepted the deal. Ecclestone had initially proposed $25 million to take care of things and later increased the price further.
It already appeared quite likely that the settlement would be accepted. The German court hearing the case told scheduled witnesses that they didn't need to be there for Tuesday's proceedings. According to Deutsche Welle, Ecclestone's old age was a contributing factor the prosecutors' agreement to the offer.
Ecclestone was accused of paying German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky about $44 million in bribes in 2006 for preferential treatment in buying F1 shares. However, the case was always somewhat complicated. Ecclestone claimed that he paid the banker the money, but it was because he was being blackmailed. If convicted, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison. Gribkowsky received eight-and-a-half years behind bars for his role in the affair. Ecclestone previously stepped down from his position on the F1 board because of the trial in Germany. Although, this settlement could clear him to resume that role.