Ecclestone to be cleared after 60m payment

5 August 2014 by TF1T Staff

Bernie Ecclestone will avoid any further investigation into whether or not he paid a bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in 2005 after agreeing an out-of-court settlement.

The 83-year-old billionaire will pay £60 million ($100m) to the state of Bavaria in what is believed to be Germany's largest ever settlement.

News that the charges have been dropped was confirmed on Tuesday, ending a two-year trial which wasn't expected to reach a final conclusion until late-September.

"It seems that we will be successful in the settlement," Ecclestone's laywer Sven Thomas told the Indepedent. "The amount is not confidential. They are talking about $100m.

"It is a settlement without any conviction, the presumption of innocence is still valid. That was a condition under which I negotiated."

Thomas then joked about what the Bavarian state should do with the money: "The $100m is for the state of Bavaria. Maybe they will try and build a circuit. I will propose this – that they should build a nice circuit."

Had Ecclestone - who has claimed innocence throughout - been found guilty, he could have faced up to ten years in a German jail.