German Court Ends F1 Boss's Bribery Trial
A German court has ruled that Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone can pay a £60m ($100m) settlement to end his trial on bribery charges.
"The proceedings will be temporarily suspended with the agreement of the prosecution and the accused," pending payment of the ... settlement, presiding judge Peter Noll said.
Mr Ecclestone, 83, went on trial in Munich in April over allegations that he bribed a former German banker as part of the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years ago.
The state prosecutor told the court on Tuesday Mr Ecclestone's age and other circumstances supported the acceptance of a settlement.
The British billionaire could have faced up to 10 years in jail and would have had to relinquish control of a business he has built up over the past four decades.
Under German law, judges, prosecutors and the defence can agree to dismiss a case or settle it with a light punishment, although terms for such an agreement are strictly defined.
Mr Ecclestone has previously admitted making the payment to Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is now serving a jail sentence, but denied all charges of bribery.
"Gribkowsky did not tell the truth at crucial points," Mr Ecclestone told the court at the start of his trial in April.
His words were in a 100-page statement read out in German on his behalf by his lawyer Sven Thomas.
Mr Ecclestone maintains he was the victim of coercion by Gribkowsky and that the ex-banker was threatening to make damaging claims about his tax affairs that could have cost him and his family much of their fortune.