Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone will be charged with fraud following an investigation into foreign assets believed to be worth more than $700 million.
Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is facing a fraud claim over alleged failure to declare £400m ($A705m) in overseas assets to the UK government, prosecutors said Monday.
Andrew Penhale, Chief Prosecutor, said: “The CPS (the UK Crown Prosecution Service) has reviewed a file of evidence from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) and has cleared charges against Bernard Ecclestone of false representation fraud relating to his failure to report to HMRC the existence of assets abroad believed to be worth more than £400 million.”
He added: “The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings are now pending against this defendant and that they have the right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that there is no reporting, commenting or sharing of information online that could harm this proceeding in any way.”
The director of the HMRC’s fraud investigation service, Simon York, said the investigation into Ecclestone, 91, had been “complex and global”.
“We can confirm that an allegation of fraud by false representation has been authorized against Bernard Ecclestone,” he said.
“This follows a complex and global criminal investigation by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
“The criminal charge relates to anticipated tax liabilities arising from more than £400 million in offshore assets that were hidden from HMRC.”
The case will be heard for the first time in London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 22, although it has not been specified whether Ecclestone would be forced to attend.
Billion dollar businessman.
Billion dollar businessman
Ecclestone, a British businessman whose financial worth is estimated at over £2.5 billion ($A4.4b) according to Forbes magazine, is widely credited with transforming Formula 1 into a commercial powerhouse.
After a brief racing career in the late 1950s, he later became the owner of the Brabham F1 team.
Ecclestone’s control of Formula 1 stemmed from what was then the pioneering sale of television rights in the late 1970s.
However, he was removed from his position as chief executive of Formula One Group in January 2017, following its takeover by Liberty Media.
Ecclestone recently caused controversy by saying he would “take a bullet” for Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ecclestone had described the Russian president as a “sensible” and “first class person” who “believed he was doing the right thing for Russia”.
He had also criticized Ukraine’s response to Russia’s military action, telling AFP last month: “Ukraine taking on Russia is a bit like arguing with Mike Tyson or some other great boxer.
“I certainly wouldn’t have chosen the fight.”
However, Ecclestone also told Sky Sports: “I’m sorry if anything I said upset anyone as it certainly wasn’t meant to be”.