Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone due in court on fraud charge

The 91-year-old is expected to attend Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday morning to formally enter a plea.

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is due to appear in court accused of failing to declare a Singapore trust worth more than £400 million to the government.

The 91-year-old is expected to attend Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday morning to formally enter a plea to a single charge of fraud by false representation between July 13 2013 and October 5 2016.

The billionaire, who will turn 92 later this month, previously indicated he would plead not guilty at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in August after he was charged following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into his finances.

He is alleged to have failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around 650 million US dollars as part of the probe, which would have allowed the business magnate to draw a line under any previous tax irregularities.

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in August
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for an earlier hearing on August 22 (Victoria Jones/PA)

According to the charge, Ecclestone 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, who has three grown-up daughters – Deborah, 67, Tamara, 38, and Petra, 33 – and a young son, Ace, allegedly made the representations “intending to make a gain, namely not stated, for yourself”.

The charge was authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in July following an investigation by HMRC, which said the probe had been “complex and worldwide”.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Andrew Penhale said at the time: “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 £400 million.”

Ecclestone, who lived in Knightsbridge, central London, is on unconditional bail.

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