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Ex-F1 boss Ecclestone faces fraud charges

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone will be charged with fraud by false representation over an alleged failure to declare 400 million pounds ($A702 million) of overseas assets to the UK government.

The charge against the 91-year-old was authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Monday following an investigation by Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “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 pounds ($A702 million).

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and that they have a right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

It is understood that Ecclestone is currently overseas and will return to London soon.

Simon York from HMRC said that the investigation had been “complex and worldwide”.

“We can confirm that a fraud by false representation charge has been authorised against Bernard Ecclestone,” he said.

“This follows a complex and worldwide criminal investigation by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.

“The criminal charge relates to projected tax liabilities arising from more than 400 million pounds ($A702 m) 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 remind people to refrain from commentary or sharing of information that could prejudice proceedings in any way. This is now a matter for the courts and we will not be commenting further.”

The case will first be heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 22.

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