Ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone admits fraud after failing to declare £400million

By Sports Desk October 12, 2023

Ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has admitted fraud after failing to declare more than £400million held in a trust in Singapore to the Government.

The 92-year-old said “I plead guilty” at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday while standing in the well of the court wearing a dark suit and grey tie.

On July 7, 2015, the billionaire failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around 650 million US dollars, worth about £400million at the time.

The charge stated Ecclestone, who has three grown-up daughters, Deborah, Tamara and Petra, and a young son, Ace, had “established only a single trust, that being one in favour of your daughters, and other than the trust established for your daughters you were not the settlor nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK”.

Before his guilty plea, he had been due to face trial in November on the single fraud charge.

The court heard Ecclestone had said “no” when asked by HMRC officers whether he had any links to any further trusts “in or outside the UK”.

Prosecutor Richard Wright KC said: “That answer was untrue or misleading.

“Mr Ecclestone knew his answer may have been untrue or misleading.

“As of July 7, 2015, Mr Ecclestone did not know the truth of the position, so was not able to give an answer to the question.

“Mr Ecclestone was not entirely clear on how ownership of the accounts in question were structured.

“He therefore did not know whether it was liable for tax, interest or penalties in relation to amounts passing through the accounts.

“Mr Ecclestone recognises it was wrong to answer the questions he did because it ran the risk that HMRC would not continue to investigate his affairs.

“He now accepts that some tax is due in relation to these matters.”

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