German court accepts €75m Ecclestone offer to end bribery trial

Tuesday 05 August 2014 21.59
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone (right) could have faced up to ten years
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone (right) could have faced up to ten years

A German court has accepted a €75m offer from British businessman and Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to end his bribery trial.

Mr Ecclestone, 83, went on trial in Munich in April over allegations he bribed a former German banker as part of the sale of a major stake in the motorsport business eight years ago.

"The proceedings will be temporarily suspended with the agreement of the prosecution and the accused," said presiding judge Peter Noll, pending payment of the settlement.

The court said the suspicion against Mr Ecclestone was largely not substantiated and the trial will be discontinued for the moment.

State prosecutors earlier told the district court in Munich they would agree to accept his offer.

The state prosecutor said Mr Ecclestone's advanced age and other circumstances supported the acceptance of a settlement.

Mr Ecclestone's defence team said the deal is not an admission of guilt.

The billionaire could have faced up to ten years in jail and would have had to cede 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.