Ecclestone to pay $100 million to avoid jail and remain F1 boss

Bernie Ecclestone in court

Bernie Ecclestone in court

Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone looks set to avoid jail and retain control of Formula 1, thanks to a negotiated US $100 million settlement with prosecutors in his high-profile corruption case in Germany.

Suddeutsche Zeitung, who are reporting the latest development, did not name its sources but said the settlement, negotiated in Munich on Saturday, will terminate the trial altogether and see all charges dropped.

Earlier in the week, there was talk of a €25 million compensation payment to the Munich state bank BayernLB. It is believed that, on Friday, the court told witnesses due to testify not to attend until further notice.

Official confirmation is possible within the first half of next week, and probably on the scheduled resumption of the trial on Tuesday.

Bernie Ecclestone with Gerhard Gribkowsky

Bernie Ecclestone with Gerhard Gribkowsky

“There have been additional talks involving state prosecutors, defence lawyers and the court, and it’s possible that a settlement to end the case could be reached next week,” a court spokesman said.

Suddeutsche Zeitung said prosecutors had initially demanded a settlement amount of €100 million, but Ecclestone and his lawyers had negotiated the currency down to US dollars.

The report said that if the settlement is agreed by all sides, it would be the biggest in German history.

“The deal would mean that the Briton will not be convicted and therefore most likely remain Formula 1 boss,” correspondent Klaus Ott said.

Disgraced banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, a central figure in the bribery saga, is serving a  jail term for his role in the affair. (GMM)