Former F1 chief Ecclestone denies fraud charge involving Singapore bank account

LONDON: Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Monday (Aug 22) pleaded not guilty when he appeared in court in London on a multimillion-pound fraud charge.

Ecclestone, 91, was charged in July over an alleged failure to declare more than £400 million (US$473 million) of overseas assets to the United Kingdom government.

The ex-motorsport boss arrived at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London to a throng of photographers and camera crews.

According to the charge sheet, he is accused of failing to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing about S$650 million.

In court, white-haired Ecclestone, wearing a dark suit, spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, and to give an address in Knightsbridge, west London.

Judge Paul Goldspring granted him unconditional bail until another pre-trial hearing at Southwark Crown Court, south London, on Sep 19.

Ecclestone, a British businessman whose financial net worth has been estimated at about US$3 billion, is widely credited with transforming F1 commercially.

His control of the sport developed from the sale of television rights in the 1970s and he was chief executive of Formula One Group until January 2017.

The Crown Prosecution Service, which brings charges in England and Wales, brought the case for “fraud by false representation” after a “complex and worldwide” investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

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