Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone pleads not guilty to fraud charges

The former racing boss appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with failing to declare £400million of assets

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Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges as he appeared at a London court, charged with failing to declare £400 million of assets to the UK Exchequer.

The 91-year-old arrived at Westminster Magistrates' Court in west London shortly after 9am for his first court appearance since being charged last month.

The former racing boss faces one count of fraud by making false representations.

The decision to charge Ecclestone followed what has been described as a "complex worldwide investigation" by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Bernie Ecclestone outside court
Bernie Ecclestone outside court
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London

HMRC officials passed a document of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which announced its decision to charge Ecclestone in July.

The charges relate to a Trust set up for his three daughters.

The charge document said the business tycoon allegedly claimed he had "established only a single trust, that being one in favour of your daughters".

And that he was alleged to have said "other than the trust established for your daughters you were not the settlor or beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK".

Ecclestone stood in front of the dock at court number one at Westminster Magistrates' Court to confirm his name as Bernard Charles Ecclestone.

Wearing a dark blue suit and tie, he also confirmed his date of birth and his address in Knightsbridge, west London.

The alleged offence relates to a period between 13 July 2013 and 5 October 2016.

After the charge was formally put to Ecclestone by the clerk of the court, the 91-year-old said he pleaded "not guilty".

He was granted unconditional bail and will appear again at Southwark Crown Court on 19 September.