F1: Ecclestone defense seeks deal to end bribery trial

Ecclestone sits in court in Munich, Germany. He is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust "in an especially grave case" over a US $44 million payment to a German banker, that prosecutors allege was meant to facilitate the sale of the Formula One Group to a buyer of Ecclestone's liking.

Christof Stache/AP

MUNICH (AP) — A German court says prosecutors and lawyers for Bernie Ecclestone are in talks about a possible deal to end the Formula One boss’ bribery trial.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone went on trial in Munich in April, charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust. The charges involve a $44 million payment to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is serving an 8 1/2-year sentence for taking the money.

Ecclestone says Gribkowsky blackmailed him.

His defense team called on Tuesday for proceedings to be closed, citing a lack of evidence that Ecclestone was criminally responsible. They said damage to BayernLB, on whose behalf Gribkowsky was selling a stake in F1, wasn’t evident but offered to pay the bank 25 million euros ($33.6 million), news agency dpa reported.

The Munich state court says it’s unclear how long talks between the two sides will take.