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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      "I hereby charge you with bribery!" "Perhaps this $100m would make you think otherwise?" "That will do nicely"
      • 1 Year Ago
      A bribe to get out of a bribery charge.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone else would be sent to prison for a long time for lesser crimes. But when you re a billionnaire, you just buy your way out of it.
      Hajime1990 #follow
      • 1 Year Ago
      $100mil is nothing for this guy. besides, regardless of the amount it wont be taken from his pocket anyway.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't forget, too old for jail as was hinted in the article. I hope when I'm his age and commit crimes I'll be too old to incarcerate....
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks like Germany has found a way to legalize the brown enveloppe!
      Smooth Motor
      • 1 Year Ago
      The government just wants their money. If you think they are any different or more trustworthy than a corporation you are kidding yourself.....
      Gregg Alley
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bernie put the "creepy" in creepy old white guy.
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is essentially a plea to a fine. However, in pleas, the negotiating takes place before trial, in the U.S. (unless there is a mistrial or retrial or some second go at the defendant). This is apparently also the case in Germany. This particular situation is unusual there. But it is by the book---the provision is right there in the BGB. I understand that the reason it is unusual, is that the prosecutors will only even entertain a deal ex trial, if they case starts to look very weak, e.g., if certain witnesses flake, evidence gets excluded, etc. And the judge won't approve it unless the case is yet strong enough that the prosecutors are not going to just quit, or can't be fairly demanded to back down by the judge. This rare middle ground appears to be where the case is. The main reason for the case stalling out appears to be that that states star witness, Gribowsky, is not very credible as a witness, apart from being convicted for financial fraud. And there is not much else to go on. It's become a he-said/he-said basically. In any case, it looks bad for the state's attorney's that a man charged with bribing the head of a state-run/affiliated bank is going to walk by paying a fine worth a small fraction of his wealth.
      Joe Liebig
      • 1 Year Ago
      Your post is inaccurate. This was NOT a settlement (§257c StPO), but a dismissal of charges subject to stipulations (§153a).
      • 1 Year Ago
      People are talking about how rich he his, but the really funny detail in all of this is, Ecclestone's second ex-wife's trust fund pays him $100 million a year from their divorce settlement. So this settlement won't even come out of his own pocket. Slavica is paying for it and Ecclestone is laughing his butt off. Smh.
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