Ex-F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone Facing Fraud Charge

The controversial former Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone, 91, is facing one charge of fraud by false representation over his alleged failure to declare £400 million ($705m AUD) of overseas assets to the UK tax authorities. This has been discovered after an investigation was launched by said authorities.  

Chief crown prosecutor, Andrew Penhale, said, “The CPS (the Uk’s Crown Prosecution Service) has reviewed a file of evidence from HMRC (Her Majesty’s 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.”

HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service director, Simon York, added,

“Our message is clear – no-one is beyond our reach.”

The first hearing is set for August 22 at London’s Westminster Magistrates Court.

A Controversial Figure

Bernie Ecclestone ran Formula One almost on his own for 40 years until it was taken over by Liberty Media in 2017. His net worth has been estimated at over £2.5 billion ($4.4b AUD) by Forbes, and he is widely credited for transforming F1 into an international powerhouse.

However, despite this, his departure was largely met with praise. Jeremy Clarkson, former co-host of Top Gear, believed that his departure was a “good thing” for the sport. 

“I had some time for Bernie in the end actually,” said Clarkson in a 2017 video, “But it’s probably a good thing that he’s gone and that it’s now going to be run as a show and not as just some tool for making already very rich men a little bit richer.”

Clarkson believes that Ecclestone’s replacement, Chase Carey, was a suitable fit. “Because Chase is American, there’s no question that the Americans have a sense of theatre about them. Think whatever you do of NASCAR, they can fill 250,000-seater stadiums, which no other sport on Earth can do.”

Ecclestone has made several controversial comments in recent years. Most recently, The Sun reported that Ecclestone told Good Morning Britain, that he’d “take a bullet for [Putin]… because he’s a first-class person.”

He added that “I’m quite sure if Ukraine wanted to get out of it properly then they could have done.”

His controversial comments are not limited to world events either as he recently took aim at Lewis Hamilton’s performance in 2022, “I don’t think he’s doing anything. I don’t think he cares too much.”

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