Ecclestone dismisses criticism against him

Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday rejected criticism of a $100-million payment he made to end his trial in Germany on bribery charges and praised the capitalist system.

A day after the court case in Munich was spectacularly halted, the British billionaire told the German press that he could not “understand” people saying he had bought a dismissal.

“To me it looks as if the judges, in their opinion, didn't really have another choice,” the 83-year-old told mass circulation Bild daily, in comments published in German.

He also expressed regret over the high sum he agreed to pay to end the four-month trial under an accord struck with prosecutors and accepted by the tribunal.

"It's certainly a bit unfortunate to pay so much money. But it's more unfortunate not to have the money.
"But actually I find this capitalist system good," he told Bild in an interview from London, just hours after the court's decision Tuesday.

The $100-million (75-million-euro) accord is believed to be the largest of its kind in German history.
Ecclestone went on trial in April on charges of paying a $44-million bribe to a Bavarian state bank executive for help in maintaining his four-decade grip on F1.

He also told Bild it had not been "funny" having to travel to Munich for two or three days a week since April for the court proceedings, but he was now fully back at F1. "But I want to say one thing, I've fallen in love a bit with Munich and its people," he added, saying he would like to return soon.”

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