LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revisited his German bribery trial in a mischievous Christmas card depicting himself handing over $100 million to a masked highwayman pointing a pistol at him.
“This is not a robbery. I am collecting for the Bavarian state,” says the cartoon figure on horseback as Ecclestone holds the sack of money.
In a further greeting inside the card sent to Reuters, Ecclestone adds another tongue-in-cheek comment: “Maybe now we can have a Formula One race in the really nice city of Munich, Germany.”
Ecclestone paid $100 million in August under the terms of a settlement agreement with prosecutors to end the bribery trial in Munich.
The agreement meant Ecclestone, now 84, preserved his innocence and was spared the prospect of a lengthy trial. He had one week to pay the money — $99 million to the state and $1 million to a children’s charity — and did so.
Ecclestone had been accused of channeling cash to jailed BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale of a major stake in Formula One to private equity fund CVC, now the largest shareholder in the business.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O'Brien