Bernie Ecclestone says he has been “a bit of an idiot” by paying £60 million to settle his bribery case because “the judge more or less said I was acquitted”.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that a figure of around £60m had been agreed between Ecclestone and the prosecutors as settlement in his bribery case
, with the court in Munich accepting that all parties were in agreement. While happy that the trial will end – officially next week after around £59m is paid to the German state and a further £1m to a German charity looking after terminally-ill children – Ecclestone said his defence was strong.
“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,” Ecclestone told the Press Association
. “This trial has been going on for two days a week and it was going to go on until October. When you're trying to run businesses it's not easy trying to resolve things when you're dealing with lawyers.
“In the end what has happened is good and bad; the good is the judge more or less said I was acquitted, and they [the prosecution] really didn't have a case. 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, so it's all right. I'm contented, it's all fine.”
And Ecclestone said the biggest positive of the settlement is that it means he can turn his attention back to running F1 full-time.
“This now allows me to do what I do best, which is running F1. Another three months out would have been bad. I've been working weekends to catch up with what I've been missing during the week. I've not really noticed, but it's probably taken its toll a little bit.”