Former Formula 1 veteran Bernie Ecclestone has admitted to a fraud charge for not disclosing over £400 million in overseas assets.
Ecclestone, who previously faced a bribery trial in Germany between 2012 and 2014, omitted to disclose over £400 million held in trusts within a Singapore bank account.
Sky News reported that prosecutor Richard Wright KC explained the primary issue. According to his statements, Ecclestone appeared to be unfamiliar with the situation and lacked knowledge about several aspects. Ecclestone had previously denied his guilt two months ago, but this time, the 91-year-old admitted to being guilty.
As a result, Ecclestone has received a 17-month suspended prison sentence.
“Mr Ecclestone was not entirely clear on how ownership of the accounts in question were structured. He therefore did not know whether it was liable for tax, interest or penalties in relation to amounts passing through the accounts.
Mr Ecclestone recognises it was wrong to answer the questions he did because it ran the risk that HMRC would not continue to investigate his affairs. He now accepts that some tax is due in relation to these matters”.
- Wright said, as quoted by motorsportweek.com!
Simon York: We will take tough action wherever we suspect tax fraud
Simon York, the director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, stressed that this serves as a message to all individuals that nobody is exempt from the law.
HMRC is fully prepared to actively pursue and apprehend potential fraudsters in the foreseeable future, as it remains committed to combating fraudulent activities.
“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”. We will see if Ecclestone will have even greater consequences.