Bernie Ecclestone heading straight back to work after $100m court settlement over bribery charges

The Formula One supremo was facing up to 10 years in prison if he had been found guilty

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said today he is going straight back to work after he agreed to pay nearly £60m ($100m) to a court in Germany to put an end to the bribery trial against him.

“I’m not really celebrating. It’s just not me,” Ecclestone told The Independent. “I’ve just got to get on with work. I’ve got things I need to catch up with so I’m cracking on.”

The trial began in April and could have led to Ecclestone being imprisoned for up to 10 years if he had been found guilty. Hearings had been taking place for two days a week to allow him to run Formula One at the same time which was “extremely burdensome” according to his lawyer, Sven Thomas.

“It’s a weight off my mind,” Ecclestone added after reaching the settlement, which was revealed in Tuesday’s Independent. “I have been wasting two days a week. Now I can get back to doing what I should be doing.”

The state of Bavaria will receive $99m of the settlement, with the remaining $1m going to a local children’s hospital. It is small beer for Ecclestone, whose wealth is estimated at $4bn. He said that this was a factor in the size of the settlement, which is believed to be the largest in German legal history.

“What happens in these cases is that if you want to get rid of them there is always a chunk of money you have to pay depending on how much money you have got. If I had proved that I hadn’t got any money I wouldn’t have had to pay. That’s what it’s all about.”

 

Ecclestone is thankful that the judge decided not to make a ruling and says “the finance of the settlement is nothing in the world to do with the judge, it’s to do with the prosecutors. What has happened is that the judge has come back and more or less said it’s an acquittal, which he didn’t have to do.”

German prosecutors had claimed that Ecclestone and his Bambino family trust paid a £27m bribe to Gerhard Gribkowsky, a former senior executive at German bank BayernLB. They believed that Ecclestone paid the money to steer the sale of BayernLB’s controlling stake in Formula One to the investment fund CVC as it had agreed to retain him as the boss of the sport. Ecclestone denies bribery and says he paid Gribkowsky to stop him making unfounded allegations about Ecclestone’s tax affairs.

A court spokesperson said that as a result of the £60m settlement “there is no ruling on guilt or innocence of the defendant”.

Ecclestone, who has been attending the trial since it began in April, says that the prosecutors approached him about settling and it is understood that this offer was driven by a lack of evidence.

Judge Peter Noll said in his concluding statement: “The charges could not, in important areas, be substantiated”.

These words and putting pen to a large cheque gave Ecclestone the keys to remain in Formula One’s driving seat for a while longer yet.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map