Morning Chronicle - Ex-Formula One chief Ecclestone facing fraud charges

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Ex-Formula One chief Ecclestone facing fraud charges
Ex-Formula One chief Ecclestone facing fraud charges / Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC - AFP

Ex-Formula One chief Ecclestone facing fraud charges

Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is to be charged with fraud by false representation over an alleged failure to declare £400 million ($477 million, 473 million euros) of overseas assets to the British government, prosecutors said Monday.

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Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) has reviewed a file of evidence from HMRC (UK Revenue and Customs) 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."

He added: "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.

"It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Simon York of HMRC said the investigation into the 91-year-old Ecclestone had been "complex and worldwide".

"We can confirm that a fraud by false representation charge has been authorised against Bernard Ecclestone," he said.

"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.

"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."

The case will first be heard at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court on August 22, although it was not specified if Ecclestone would be compelled to attend.