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Ecclestone could pay to settle German case

ESPN Staff
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Bernie Ecclestone - prepared to fight © Sutton Images
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Bernie Ecclestone could pay to settle bribery charges against him and avoid a prison sentence of up to 10 years, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper quotes Ecclestone's lawyer, Sven Thomas, as saying once the trial begins, a deal could be done with prosecutors. "I don't think that we can achieve a settlement before the trial starts. During trials settlements are always possible but not before."

This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the state court in Munich who said: "According to German legal procedure, there is the possibility during the trial to stop the proceedings in return for payment of an agreed sum of money to a charitable institution or the treasury, if the accused, the public prosecutors and also the court agrees with it."

The newspaper said that while it was not clear how much money would be needed it was expected to be in the region of £240 million. This would equate to the approximate sum bank BayernLB claims it lost.

While this is all possible in theory - and under German law it is quite above board - there is no indication yet that this is being seriously considered by Ecclestone who has always maintained his innocence and his determination to fight the case.

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