Ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone pleads guilty to fraud, given 17-month suspended prison

Former Formula 1 head Bernie Ecclestone has been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to 17 months in prison suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to fraud. Ecclestone was due to face trial at Southwark Crown Court in November after previously denying the charge. Ecclestone was in charge of Formula One from the late 1970s until January 2017.

But now the 92-year-old appeared in court and admitted to fraud by false representation, just over a month before his trial. Ecclestone received a 17-month prison sentence suspended for two years by Judge Simon Bryan. The sentence entails he will only go to jail if he commits another criminal offence during that period. The court noted Ecclestone reached a civil settlement with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to pay £652.6m on 9 October to cover 18 tax years.

Bernie Ecclestone was charged after an investigation by HMRC into his finances. The court has previously heard he failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account of $650m, worth about £400m at the time. Prosecutors revealed that Ecclestone made untrue or misleading representations to HMRC in July 2015 and “established only a single trust” in favour of his daughters Deborah, Tamara and Petra.

Andrew Penhale, chief crown prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service released a statement about the case that said, “All members of UK society, regardless of how wealthy or famous they are, must pay their taxes and be transparent and open with HMRC about their financial affairs.”



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