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F1 supremo Ecclestone ends bribery trial with $100 million payment

Bernie Ecclestone, courtesy of SKY 1 via YouTubeFormula One chief Bernie Ecclestone avoided possible conviction on bribery charges after agreeing to pay $100 million in a Munich court Tuesday.

The German court ruled that it would accept an offer from Ecclestone to bring an end to the prosecution and the three-month trial, the AP said.

Judge Peter Noll gave the 83-year-old British billionaire a week to make payments of $99 million to the Bavarian state treasury and $1 million to a local charity that cares for terminally ill children.

Ecclestone, who has always denied any wrongdoing, was accused of bribing a German banker eight years go over the sale of a controlling interest in the company that runs Formula One racing.

Under German law, prosecutors and courts can agree to close proceedings in exchange for a payment, community service, reparations or other conditions, “if the degree of guilt does not present an obstacle.”

Ecclestone’s charges date back to 2006, when the German regional bank BayernLB sold its 47.2% stake in F1 to the current majority shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm.

The prosecution claimed Ecclestone paid Gerhard Gribkowsky, formerly the chief risk officer of BayernLB, $44 million to direct the sale to CVC, so he could remain in charge of F1.

Ecclestone admitted paying Gribhowsky, but said he made the payments only after the banker threatened to make damaging claims about Ecclestone’s tax status to Britain’s HM Revenue and Customs.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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1 Comment

  1. This can only be described as an outrage to any reasonable person's sense of justice. The German establishment will need to take a long hard look at itself after this.


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