Ecclestone pleads not guilty in tax fraud case

Ecclestone pleads not guilty in tax fraud case

Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has entered a not guilty plea in response to a tax fraud charge filed against him by UK authorities.

In a case spanning from July 2013 and October 2016, the former F1 boss is accused of failing to disclose to the UK government a Singaporean trust with a bank account holding more than £400 million.

Ecclestone made an appearance at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday wearing a dark-colored suit and sunglasses. In the hearing, he confirmed his name and entered a not guilty plea in response to the charges.

The 92-year old initially dismissed the charge last summer before formally making his plea on Tuesday. The case is scheduled to go to trial in November following a global investigation by Britain’s tax agency.

When questioned about any foreign trusts he was involved with, the prosecution claims that he failed to disclose the trust.

Prosecutors claim Ecclestone stated he had established “only a single trust” for his three daughters and that he was “neither the settler nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the U.K.” He allegedly acted “dishonestly” and planned to profit from the claims, according to the prosecution.

The Crown Prosecution Service stated the charge was “in respect of his failure to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of £400m” in July last year.

Ecclestone headed Formula 1 before selling his majority share to Liberty Media in the US. He accumulated a reputed £3.6 billion fortune during his tenure, and the Sunday Times listed him as the 73rd richest person in the UK earlier this month.

Ecclestone has previously run into issues with HMRC, not just in this most recent case. In 2008, it came to light that he had been under investigation by UK tax officials for nine years and had used a legitimate tax evasion method to evade paying £1.2 billion in taxes. Following a £10 million payment, HMRC consented to put the case to rest.

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