Ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to stand trial over £400m fraud charge


Ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone faces trial in October next year accused of failing to declare more than £400 million in a trust in Singapore to the U.K. Government.

Ecclestone, 91, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday charged with a single count of fraud by false representation between July 13, 2013 and Oct. 5, 2016.

The billionaire, who will turn 92 later this month, was charged following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into his finances.

He is alleged to have failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around $650m as part of the probe, which would have allowed the business magnate to draw a line under any previous tax irregularities.

Ecclestone was not asked to formally enter a plea, and Judge Deborah Taylor fixed a trial date for Oct. 9, 2023.

Prosecutor Alexander Langhorn said the trial is expected to last up to six weeks, potentially sitting half days because of the “defendant’s fitness to participate,” while the judge said he may not be required “to be present throughout.”

Ecclestone previously indicated he would enter a not guilty plea at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in August.

The charge alleges that Ecclestone, who has three grown-up daughters — Deborah, 67, Tamara, 38, and Petra, 33 — and a young son, Ace, allegedly made a representation to officers of HMRC, “which was, and which he knew was or might have been, untrue or misleading.”

The particulars state that Ecclestone claimed “he had established only a single trust, that being one in favour of his daughters” and “other than the trust established for his daughters he was not the settlor nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK.”

The charge against him was authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in July following an investigation by HMRC, which said the probe had been “complex and worldwide.”

Chief Crown Prosecutor Andrew Penhale said at the time: “The CPS has reviewed a file of evidence from HMRC and has authorised a charge against Bernard Ecclestone of fraud by false representation in respect of his failure to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of £400m.”

Source: espn.com

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