According to Forbes, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s lawyers have made a second offer to settle the bribery case in Germany. The figured offered is in the neighborhood of $41.4 million and the offer expires on August 8th.
The bribery trial forges on but German law allows for a settlement in a case such as this and while you could look at this as an admission of guilt, you could also consider it an offer for the prosecution that really don’t have a very strong case. Ecclestone surely wants all of this legal stuff to be over and if paying a fine will help Germany feel they’ve regained what was lost ($40 million) then so be it.
The issue at hand is, who is the victim here? The bank said they believe they got a fair price for the sell of their interest in F1.Tthe current owners feel they paid a fair price. The only person who was at risk was Ecclestone when Gerhard Gribkowsky threatened to make life difficult for him by making insinuations about his tax affairs, as Christian Sylt outs it in the Forbes article.
Gribkowsky put himself at risk when he failed to pay taxes on his $40 million payment so he is his own victim. In the end, the whole issue is nonsensical and if German law provides for a settlement, then it stand to reason that a man who can afford a $40 million offer would take that option.
Some have pondered the reality of an innocent man offering to settle and what moral ramifications that might have. That notion falls short of understanding the enormity of the legal expenses something like this demands as well as time and at 83-years-old, time is not a friend.
This is the second offer the Ecclestone camp have made and the first, back in July of 2012, was declined by the court. It will be interesting to see if the court accepts the offer now and why it is a good move versus back in 2012. I would suggest that the court or prosecution knows the case is built on shifting sand and that taking the offer would show that Germany got was was rightfully hers…namely, $40 million plus the other $40 million that Gribkowsky surrendered in his incarceration.