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Bernie Ecclestone

Ecclestone indicates not guilty plea over £400m fraud charge

Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is accused of hiding overseas assets and failing to declare them to HMRC.

Bernie Ecclestone
To news overview © XPB Images

Bernie Ecclestone is planning on pleading not guilty in a court case over his alleged failure to declare an overseas trust fund worth more than £400 million, reports The Times.

The former Formula 1 CEO appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court accused of not informing Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of a Singapore-based fund.

The investigation by HMRC reportedly covers a three-year span from July 2013 to October 2016, with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recently authorising charges against the 91-year-old.

Ecclestone formally left F1 in January 2017 when the series was bought by Liberty Media, who promptly removed him from his position.

Ecclestone bailed but due back in court

Ecclestone had been charged by the CPS for fraud by false representation in July, with chief magistrate Paul Goldspring telling him that the trial would be held at Southwark Crown Court given the potential sentence should he by found guilty by a jury.

He was released on unconditional bail, but warned that he faces prison if he misses the next court hearing.

Ecclestone is accused of failing to inform the tax authorities of an account in Singapore containing the £400 million, having claimed the only fund he was a beneficiary of was one he set up for his three daughters, Deborah, Tamara and Petra.

Prosecutor Robert Simpson informed the court that Ecclestone had opted into a "contractual disclosure facility which would have allowed him to draw a line under any previous tax irregularities".

Ecclestone is alleged to have said that other than the fund established for his daughters, he was "not the settlor or beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK".

It is the latest in a series of legal battles for the former F1 supremo, including one in Germany in 2014, when he paid £60 million to end a bribery case going back to the early 2000s and the sale of the rights to F1.

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