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F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone seeks to banish tarnished image after ‘buying’ bribery case acquittal

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone his seeking to restore his battered reputation after controversially agreeing to pay $100m to a German court in return for an ongoing bribery case against him to be dropped.

The ironic exchange of cash is expected to take place within a week and will see the motoring mogul walk free with neither guilt nor innocence attached to his name, courtesy of a quirk of German law designed to ease pressure on the courts system.

The trial relates to a an alleged $44m payment made to a German banker in order to ensure a company Ecclestone backed could buy an F1 stake, a charge which Ecclestone vehemently denies.

Ecclestone, who doesn’t deny making the payment, said that he authorised it after the rogue banker threatened to make false claims in relation to his tax status.

In consequence of this turn of events Ecclestone will be free to continue his roll as organiser for the sport without too big a dent on his bank balance – Forbes estimate his personal wealth to be in the region of $4.2bn.

Court spokesperson Andrea Titz told the press: "The court did not consider a conviction overwhelmingly likely from the present point of view. With this type of ending... there is no ruling on guilt or innocence of the defendant."

If convicted Ecclestone could have faced a decade in jail and the loss of his cherished motor racing role.

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