until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Suspended prison term, £650million bill for ex-F1 boss Ecclestone

1 min read

Long-time Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone pleaded guilty to fraud in a London court on Thursday, getting a 17-month prison sentence suspended for two years and agreeing to pay £652.6million to the UK tax authorities.

The case followed an HMRC (UK's tax body) investigation over his finances and a false representation by Ecclestone in July 2015 in which he failed to declare a Singapore-based offshore trust that had the equivalent of £400m in a bank account at the time. Prosecutors said he answered "no" to the question of whether he had any additional trusts beyond one established for his three daughters.

Ecclestone had been due to stand trial next month, but appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday having changed his plea to guilty and agreed earlier this week to pay £652.6m covering tax, interest and penalties for 18 tax years between 1994 and 2022 in a civil settlement with HMRC.

Bernie Ecclestone, F1

Prosecutor Richard Wright KC said: "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."

His defence Clare Montgomery KC said Ecclestone "bitterly regrets the events that led to this criminal trial", calling his false representation an "impulsive lapse of judgement".

She said the 92-year-old was now in "frail health" and this situation had caused "immense stress to him and those who love him".

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks