Bernie Ecclestone: what are fraud charges against ex- Formula 1 boss?

The former Formula 1 boss was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service following an investigation by HMRC

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Bernie Ecclestone has denied fraud over an alleged failure to declare to the Government more than £400 million in a trust in Singapore.

Mr Ecclestone, who headed up Formula 1 for more than 40 years, was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after an investigation was launched by Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The businessman recently hit the headlines after telling morning TV show Good Moring Britian that he would “take a bullet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he described as a “first-class person”.

But why has he been charged, and was has the CPS said?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What fraud charges is Bernie Eccleston facing?

Mr Ecclestone, 91, has been charged with fraud after allegedly failing to declare £400million worth of overseas assets to the UK Government.

He is accused of failing to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around 650 million US dollars.

Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said previously: “The CPS 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.

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and that they have a right to a fair trial.”

What happened during his court appearance?

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring allowed him to stand outside the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court after his barrister, Clare Montgomery QC, said her client was “having a little bit of trouble hearing”.

Ecclestone stood to confirm his name and address before indicating a not guilty plea to a charge of fraud by false representation between 13 July 2013 and 5 October 2016.

According to the charge, the business magnate allegedly claimed that he had “established only a single trust, that being one in favour of your daughters”.

He is also alleged to have said “other than the trust established for your daughters you were not the settlor nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK”.

Ecclestone was granted unconditional bail ahead of his next appearance at Southwark Crown Court on 19 September during the hearing, which lasted around five minutes.

What has HMRC said about the investigation?

The HMRC investigation was launched after suspicions were raised over the projected tax liabilities from Mr Ecclestone’s overseas assests.

Simon York from HMRC previously said: “We can confirm that a fraud by false representation charge has been authorised against Bernard Ecclestone.

“This follows a complex and worldwide criminal investigation by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.

“The criminal charge relates to projected tax liabilities arising from more than £400m of offshore assets which were concealed from HMRC.”