Bernie set­tles bribery case for $100mil­lion

But Bay­ern LB re­ject of­fer of a sep­a­rate £19m set­tle­ment, with a civil trial now look­ing likely

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Bernie Ec­cle­stone has sur­vived his bribery trial in Ger­many and sal­vaged his po­si­tion at the helm of For­mula 1, by pay­ing off $100m (£60m) to set­tle the case. This is al­lowed in Ger­many un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, with no as­sump­tion of ei­ther guilt or in­no­cence.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Ec­cle­stone’s age and other mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances cre­ated grounds for the set­tle­ment of­fer. The amount sets a new record and will be split, with $99mil­lion go­ing to the Ger­man state and $1m to be do­nated to a chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal. The Ger­man banker Ger­hard Gribkowsky, whose tes­ti­mony led to Ec­cle­stone stand­ing trial, re­mains in jail, serv­ing an eight-year sen­tence for ac­cept­ing an al­leged bribe from the F1 star to en­sure the sport’s com­mer­cial rights were sold to cur­rent own­ers CVC. De­spite this, the judge in Ec­cle­stone’s trial said after the set­tle­ment had been agreed that the prospects of se­cur­ing a con­vic­tion had been slim. In the con­text of those com­ments, Ec­cle­stone de­scribed his decision to set­tle as “a lit­tle bit silly”.

But the saga is still not over. Bay­ernLB, the bank for whom Gribkowsky worked, is still pur­su­ing Ec­cle­stone, claim­ing he col­lected com­mis­sions and un­der­val­ued its stake in For­mula 1.

The bank re­fused the of­fer of a £19mil­lion pay­ment from Ec­cle­stone to set­tle that dis­pute, shortly after his trial ended. The bank’s next steps are un­clear, but they are con­sid­er­ing tak­ing the mat­ter to the civil courts.

The end of Ec­cle­stone’s trial should open up a log­jam in long-term F1 decision-mak­ing. Many se­nior gures ad­mit­ted pri­vately that they were wait­ing for the out­come of the trial be­fore mak­ing any strate­gic moves, as they were un­clear whether Ec­cle­stone would re­main in charge or not. Among the many mat­ters pend­ing is a decision on whether to re­tain the con­tro­ver­sial dou­ble points for the nal race of the sea­son. Team bosses have been taken aback by the vit­ri­olic re­ac­tion from fans and many have ad­mit­ted it was a mis­take.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.