Crown Prosecution Service authorises fraud charges against ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone

Ecclestone is accused of failing to declare overseas assets believed to be worth in excess of £400m

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The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised the charging of former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone over a multi million ;pound fraud allegation.

Chief Crown Prosecutor, Andrew Penhale said: “The CPS has reviewed a file of evidence from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and has authorised a charge against Bernard Ecclestone of fraud by false representation.”

The CPS said the charge was being brought over allegations Mr Ecclestone failed to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas, believed to be worth in excess of £400m.

Simon York, Director of the Fraud Investigation Service said the charge “follows a complex and worldwide criminal investigation by HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service.

Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone

“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. Our message is clear – no one is beyond our reach.”

At the weekend, Ecclestone, who was in charge of Formula One for four-decades, finally apologised for comments he made supporting the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 91-year-old described Putin as a “first class person” and said he would “take a bullet for him” in comments last month that were widely condemned.

Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone

Speaking to Sky Sports on Sunday, he said: “Often people, I think, come out and say things or do things without really too much thinking. Probably I did the same, and I can understand people thinking I’m defending what he’s done in Ukraine, which I don’t.

“I was brought up during the war, the last war, so I know what it’s like. And I feel sorry for the people of Ukraine having to suffer for something they haven’t done.

“They’ve done nothing wrong. They didn’t start anything. They want to get on with their lives.”

Bernie Ecclestone will have his first hearing into allegations at Westminster Magistrates Court in west London on 22 August.