Fraud allegations against ex-F1 chief: Did Ecclestone hid €473m?

Fraud charges against ex-F1 chief
Did Ecclestone hid 473 million euros?

With “melee” Bernie Ecclestone may still be described with extreme caution. Now the Putin fan and the longtime Formula 1 boss has to answer to the court once again. British authorities accuse him of not reporting assets estimated at 473 million euros.

Former Formula 1 godfather Bernie Ecclestone is in trouble with elimination once again. In England, the controversial manager has been accused of fraud, with it said he hid assets of more than £400 million (about €473 million) from British tax authorities. The case is due to be heard for the first time on August 22 at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. It remains unclear whether 91-year-old Ecclestone should be present in person at the appointment.

Simon York of the IRS said: “We can confirm that a forgery fraud charge has been pleaded against Bernard Ecclestone. This is the result of a complex and comprehensive criminal investigation conducted by the Fraud Investigations Division.” The authority is “on the side of honest taxpayers, and we will take drastic action wherever we suspect tax fraud. Our message is clear: No one is out of reach for us.”

Prosecutor Andrew Pinhill noted that Ecclestone has a “right to a fair trial”: “It is extremely important not to publish any reports, comments or information online that could in any way affect this trial.” In theory, a prison sentence of up to ten years is possible.

A personal fortune of around £2.5 billion

Ecclestone had been on trial in Munich for nearly ten years. In July 2013, the Attorney General’s Office brought charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust in a particularly serious case during the sale of Formula 1 shares. The trial was dropped in August 2014 for a $100 million fine. Ecclestone’s personal fortune was finally estimated at £2.5 billion.

Ecclestone Formula 1 has shaped like no other since taking over the advertising and television rights at the end of the 1970s. The Briton, who is less than 1.60m tall, made the series a global multibillion dollar company as a powerful and sometimes authoritarian managing director. Ecclestone continued to open new markets, and he was not shy about politically controversial states and rulers. With his opinion of dictatorships and other controversial statements, he repeatedly caused a lack of understanding and scandals. In January 2017, Ecclestone was fired from his position of managing director by new Formula 1 owners Liberty Media.

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