Bernie Ecclestone is to be charged with tax fraud in the UK. The former Formula One ‘ringmaster’ failed to declare 400 million pounds of assets held abroad to the tax authorities. A hearing has been scheduled for the 22nd of August at London’s Westminster Court. It has not been made clear at this stage whether Ecclestone will be required to attend but the former F1 boss has responded to the media.
Bernie Ecclestone, 91, has ruled F1 for nearly 40 years. He stepped down as the head of the world’s ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ in January 2017 after being sacked by the sport’s new commercial rights holder, the US-based Liberty Media Group.
A short-lived racing driver in the late 1950s and then boss of the Brabham team, the British businessman, whose fortune has been estimated by Forbes magazine at more than £2.5 billion, is widely regarded as the architect of the transformation of F1 into a lucrative business under his stewardship.
Contacted by Reuters in Ibiza, Ecclestone said he was yet to see the details.
“I haven’t seen that so I don’t know so I can’t comment,” he said when the statement was read to him.
The British billionaire indicated it had not come out of the blue, however.
“It’s something that has been talked about happening, but not in the way you said, something a little bit different to that, quite a while ago,” he said. “They’ve probably got all excited again. Let’s see what happens.”
In 2015, Ecclestone faced a demand from HMRC for payment of more than £1bn (R20.3bn) in relation to a family trust.
He said then that HMRC had not respected an agreement made in 2008 over the ‘Bambino Trust,’ set up for the benefit of his ex-wife Slavica and daughters Tamara and Petra, and he was taking legal action.