Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday hailed the “capitalist system” that saw him escape a bribery trial by paying the German court a record $100 million settlement.
On Tuesday, the judge in Munich rubber-stamped the deal struck between the F1 supremo’s lawyers and the prosecutors in the case surrounding a $44 million bribe made years ago to jailed Gerhard Gribkowsky. Clearly, the fact a figure like billionaire Briton Ecclestone was able to cling to power in F1 and avoid jail simply by dipping into his vast fortune has been highly controversial.
The 83-year-old is unapologetic. “It’s certainly a bit unfortunate to pay so much money,” he told Wednesday’s edition of the German tabloid Bild, “but it would be worse to not have the money. “I like this capitalist system,” he added. Not at all surprised, however, is former F1 manager Willi Weber, who made his fortune taking 20 per cent of Michael Schumacher’s vast earnings. “I said a few months ago that it would be settled with money,” he told Sport Bild on Wednesday. “That’s how it is in formula one, and the same as when he gave Gribkowsky that money — without thinking too much about it,” added Webber.