Ecclestone 'a bit of an idiot' for settling
6 August 2014 – Bernie Ecclestone says he was "a bit of an idiot" for paying $100 million (60 million pounds) to end his bribery trial in Munich, after the judge "more or less said" that the Formula 1 supremo was acquitted.
Ecclestone went on trial in April over claims that he bribed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky with a $44 million payment to ensure that the sale of a major stake in the motorsport business went to a buyer of his choice.
State prosecutors accepted the settlement on Tuesday morning, before the decision was finalised in court.
"In the end what has happened is good and bad – the good is the judge more or less said I was acquitted, and [the prosecution] really didn't have a case," 83-year-old Ecclestone told the Press Association.
"So I was a bit of an idiot to do what I did to settle because it wasn't with the judge, it was with the prosecutors.
"Anyway, it's done and finished. I'm content. This now allows me to do what I do best, which is running F1."
Ecclestone added that the trial has gradually taken its toll on both personal and professional levels.
"The bottom line is it's been three and a half years of aggravation, travelling, meeting lawyers, and God knows what else, so it is good it is out of the way. This trial has been going on for two days a week and it was going to go on until October," Ecclestone, who has been working weekends to keep up to date, went on to explain.
"When you're trying to run businesses it's not easy trying to resolve things when you're dealing with lawyers."
Of the $100 million, $99 million will go to the German state and $1 million to a charity for terminally-ill children.