Bernie Ecclestone has pleaded guilty and admitted to fraud for offence from 2015 when he was still the F1 boss.
The hearing was held at Southwark Crown Court where Ecclestone was accompanied by his wife Fabiana and his team of lawyers. The case was regarding him failing to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around $650m.
Earlier Ecclestone denied the charge until Thursday when he pleaded guilty, thereby admitting fraud. Interestingly, this happened in May of 2015 when he was still the F1 boss, as the sport were looking for a new owner until Liberty Media stepped in.
The charge on Ecclestone was levied by HMRC officers after tax investigations led to such findings. During the investigation, he denied of his involvement in a trust which was made in favour of his daughters Deborah, Tamara and Petra, which was misleading/untrue.
The findings noted that Ecclestone did gain from the trust even though he wasn’t aware about the structure at the time of initial investigation. “That answer was untrue or misleading. Mr Ecclestone knew his answer may have been untrue or misleading,” said Prosecutor Richard Wright KC.
“As of 7 July 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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