Ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone pleads not guilty to $650m fraud charge

Former motor racing magnate accused of failing to declare millions of pounds of Singaporean assets

Bernie Ecclestone leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Monday. PA
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Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Monday denied a fraud charge over his alleged failure to declare millions of pounds in Singaporean assets.

Mr Ecclestone, 91, entered a not guilty plea as he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London for a brief hearing.

Prosecutors issued a charge of fraud by false representation between July 2013 and October 2016 after a worldwide investigation by the UK's HM Revenue and Customs into Mr Ecclestone’s finances.

Prosecutor Robert Simpson told the court that Formula One mogul had not declared a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing about $650 million when asked about any of his assets abroad.

The charge was authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service in July.

“The [Crown Prosecution Service] has reviewed a file of evidence from HMRC and has 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,” Andrew Penhale, the chief crown prosecutor, said at the time.

The business magnate, dressed in a three-piece suit, was escorted into the court building’s exit by security guards and his legal team. He was granted unconditional bail before his next appearance at Southwark Crown Court in London on September 19.

Mr Ecclestone headed Formula One racing and controlled the sport for four decades from the 1970s to 2017 when he stepped down as chief executive and Liberty Media took over the series.

He was arrested in Brazil in May for carrying a gun in his luggage while boarding a plane.

Updated: August 22, 2022, 2:43 PM