Ecclestone faces fraud charge on assets ‘worth over £400 million’

2022 F1 season

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The Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom says it has authorised bringing a charge of “fraud by false representation” against former Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

The charge relates to overseas assets believed to be worth over £400 million.

Ecclestone’s personal wealth has previously been estimated to exceed £2.5 billion. He amassed his fortune after taking control of Formula 1 during the seventies. He stepped down in charge of the series after it was sold to Liberty Media in 2017, and he left his emeritus position at the company two years ago.

The CPS reviewed evidence compiled following an investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which is responsible for tax collection in the UK. Chief crown prosecutor Andrew Penhale said it has now “authorised a charge against Bernard Ecclestone of fraud by false representation in respect of his failure to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of £400m.”

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and that they have a right to a fair trial,” he added. “It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

The HMRC’s director of Fraud Investigation Services, Simon York, said the charge “follows a complex and worldwide criminal investigation,” by the department. “The criminal charge relates to projected tax liabilities arising from more than £400m of offshore assets which were concealed from HMRC.”

“HMRC is on the side of honest taxpayers and we will take tough action wherever we suspect tax fraud,” he said. “Our message is clear: no one is beyond our reach.

“We remind people to refrain from commentary or sharing of information that could prejudice proceedings in any way. This is now a matter for the courts and we will not be commenting further.”

Ecclestone recently drew strong criticism for remarks defending Nelson Piquet over racist comments he made about Lewis Hamilton, and declaring his continued support for Russian president Vladimir Putin following his invasion of Ukraine. The 91-year-old later apologised for the latter.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 20 comments on “Ecclestone faces fraud charge on assets ‘worth over £400 million’”

    1. Not a huge surprise that Ecclestone was hiding a chunk of the money. Might even be tied to the old case with the lawyer in Germany too, wasn’t that about something in the range of the same amount?

      Regardless, we need out tax authorities to finally start hauling in these kind of hidden assets and corrupt money.

      1. @bascb

        Not a huge surprise that Ecclestone was hiding a chunk of the money

        Absolutely spot on ! It seems illogical that someone as shady as Ecclestone was honestly declaring his assets. Why this took so much time, I don’t know. The question is whether this time he will manage to cut a deal with the prosecutor ?

        1. I’m surprised they took that long as well. There isn’t a shadier character when business dealings are concerned, especially after we found out with his dealings with the German banker. Whether it was true or not, there should have at least been an investigation in to his assets then.

          A little jail time would do Bernie good to be honest.

    2. I might be wrong, but I think the case with the german bank representative holding him to ransom turned out to be true (in the sense Bernie was telling the truth). But like you – nothing with Bernie would surprise me, certainly when it came to disclosing assets anyway. Innocent until proven otherwise of course. But I wasn’t shocked to read the headline.

      1. Sorry @bascb I meant to respond directly.

      2. Wasn’t that case about the lawyer trying to get money from Bernie to help him hide the money that was hidden in paper though @bernasaurus? I think at the time there was some info floating around that HMRC was going to look into it.

        but yeah, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if there was more to hide.

    3. Oh no!

      Anyway…

    4. Bernie Ecclestone seems to be on a roll with controversies lately with his clownish behaviour and this one looks serious as the Crown Prosecution Service do not bring charges without strong evidence.

      Also can anyone explain why Bernie who has had controversy follow him his entire life was offered a Knighthood but not Ron Dennis who lives an honest life building McLaren from a amateur shed team into a global success with state of the art HQ in Woking?

    5. What?
      Bernie?

      One of the most respected and admired men on Earth!
      A true paragon of moral decency and a guiding light for all to follow!
      Surely this is fake news.

      1. Ahah, good one indeed.

    6. He had to hide the money because no one would buy his wacky ideas that he invented during his time

    7. Say one good thing about Russia and this is what the globalist elite will do to you. I am not surprised.

      1. Sarcasm? Or do you truly believe this?

      2. HMRC, or any tax collector, has thousands of easy ways to make a rich person’s (financial) life cumbersome if they wanted to.

        On the other hand, a criminal case like this takes months if not years to prepare and has nothing to do with recent actions by Ecclestone. They’ll want to bring these charges when they’re 99,9% sure they’re going to get a hefty settlement or conviction out of it.

      3. Cool. We love conspiracist antisemitism here. Great.

    8. Criminals gonna crime.

    9. Bernie will no doubt pay some high priced lawyers to fix this or delay any proceedings until he’s long gone. most likely he’ll get a much lower penalty (if any) than any ordinary person that is accused of defrauding the tax department of a couple of grand.
      Oh to be rich and have no care :)

    10. Bernie will no doubt pay some high priced lawyers to fix this or delay any proceedings until he’s long gone.

      @dbradock Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be so wily. Being rich means you can afford good lawyers, or even “high priced lawyers”, which can make a huge difference at one’s earthly court trial, and to the severity of one’s potential earthly prison sentence, but I’m told on good authority that being rich is also a big liability when it comes to one’s eternal salvation, and a person who’s incredibly rich has even more problems. Apparently the “eternal prison” is very harsh. Someone important said it was actually very extremely incredibly harsh, and people sent there can expect to be there for a long time. I think Mr Ecclestone would be better to quickly cut a deal with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs than to try and drag it out as a way to evade punishment.

      1. I mean, if one believes in such fairy tales, power to them. I’d rather Bernie just pay the legal price while he still can.

    11. This is a case of he is 91 we don’t have that long to get to his money.

    Comments are closed.