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Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone offers $100 million to end trial

Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone offers $100 million to end trial Photo:

Formula One president and CEO Bernie Ecclestone offered to pay $100 million to end his trial on bribery charges, The Guardian's Josie Le Blond reports.

State prosecutors are expected to accept the offer and put an end to Ecclestone's trial for allegedly bribing a German banker during the sale of Formula One eight years ago.

The trial is based in Munich. 

More details from The Guardian

German law provides for some criminal cases to be settled with smaller punishments, such as fines, though the size of the payment in the Ecclestone case has led some to question a system that in effect favours affluent defendants.

Ecclestone admitted paying $44 million to Bayern LB chief risk officer Gerhard Gribkowsky to sell the company's share to a group which would keep Ecclestone as CEO, but he denies it was a bribe. The prosecutor said the 83-year-old's age played a role in accepting the offer.

The deal received criticism from Germany's former justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

If it were to go through, she said, "it would not be consistent with the spirit and purpose of our legal system."

Ecclestone could have faced up to 10 years in prison and the potential loss of his F1 business.

- Paul Palladino

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