Bernie Ecclestone has paid a German court £100m to end a bribery trial brought against the F1 supremo by state prosecutors. Ecclestone was accused of paying a German banker 33m euros to secure a stake of Formula One with a company he championed.
German prosecutors believed Ecclestone paid the bribe to ensure the running of F1 was kept within his total control as he went for a buyout of Bayern LB’s 47% stake, the bank in question is state owned and head-quartered in Bavaria.
One of Bayern LB’s banker’s, Gerhard Gribkowsky accepted Bernie’s millions in 2006 but was later prosecuted and found guilty of accepting bribes in 2012. Gribowsky was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
Ecclestone never denied making the payment too Gribowsky but counter claimed that the banker allegedly tried to blackmail him over an alleged tax avoidance scheme set up for his two daughters.
Ecclestone faced 10 years in prison if found guilty but under German law if both parties agree to a settlement then the prosecution ends with no verdict of guilty or innocent being announced.
In other words Ecclestone paid a legal bribe to end prosecution of an alleged bribe, Ecclestone’s defense lawyers earlier called for the prosecution to be halted because of a lack of evidence but the state dragged its heals.
In the end the German court agreed to accept Ecclestone’s offer and the ruling means the 83 year old F1 power broker walks out of the courtroom and into the streets of Germany as a free man ready to tighten his grip on F1, a sport that he has transformed into a multi-billion dollar money spinner.
Bernie Ecclestone is reputed to be worth £3.8bn which makes him the 12th richest man in the UK, the former car sales man shows no signs of slowing down at such an advanced age.
Ecclestone is an old fashioned hustler who has the ability to adapt to changing market conditions because he has a long term vision, this is something that the over-educated MBA elite’s lack and its why the diminutive Englishman is the Pharaoh of the F1 paddock.