Ecclestone has been at the helm of Formula 1 for 40 years. Photo REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov
Bernie Ecclestone was once again at the center of the controversy. The Briton, a former owner of Formula 1, will be charged with large-scale tax fraud for failing to declare taxes worth £ 400 million (about $ 481 million), according to the British Treasury Office (HMRC).
Andrea Penhalewho manages the Crown Prosecutor’s Office (CPS, Crown Prosecutor Services), said in a statement that this body “examined a file with evidence from the Treasury and authorized the indictment of Ecclestone for misrepresentation fraud”, as it did not declare the existence of possessions. abroad.
“The CPS reminds all interested parties that the criminal proceedings against this accused are now active and that he is entitled to a fair trial. It is extremely important that no information is reported, discussed or shared that could in any way prejudice this proceeding”, he added. Criminal.
simone yorkof HMRC, indicated for its part that the accusation against Ecclestone was the result of “a complex and comprehensive criminal investigation conducted by the HMRC Fraud Investigation Service”.
“The Treasury is on the side of honest taxpayers and we will act hard if we suspect tax fraud. Our message is clear: no one is out of our league. Now this is a matter for the courts,” he added.
Ecclestone and Putin in 2010, when they agreed on the arrival of Formula 1 in Russia from 2014. Photo REUTERS / Sergei Karpukhin 1
The first hearing of the case is set for August 22 in the London Court of Westminster, although it has not yet been confirmed whether Ecclestone should be present on that occasion.
Ecclestone, 91, has been driving F1 for nearly 40 years. He left office in January 2017, after being fired by the new owner of the commercial rights of the first category, the American group Media Freedomwho appointed Go after Carey as his successor.
His departure from big circus, however, it did not mean his departure from public life and in recent years the Brit has been making headlines for his controversial views. A few weeks ago he caused a stir by defending Vladimir Putin by talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Putin is a top notch person and what he is doing is something he believed was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, he is like a lot of business people, like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you do. a mistake, you have to do your best to get out of it, ”Ecclestone said.
He added: “I’d still take a bullet for him. I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but I’d still take a bullet.”
Ecclestone and his wife Fabiana Flosi, with whom he was in Brazil when he was arrested in May. AFP photo / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
The British tycoon added fuel to the fire when he criticized Volodymyr Zelenskypresident of Ukraine, for not opening a dialogue with his Russian counterpart to prevent the start of the war.
“He (Zelensky) was a comedian and I think he seems to want to continue with that profession, because if he had thought about it, he would surely have made a lot of effort to talk to Mr. Putin, who is a reasonable person, and he would have listened to him. and I probably could have done something about it. “
In May, however, Ecclestone was arrested at Viracopos airport in Sao Paulo for illegal possession of a firearm. As reported at the time Globo GroupWhen the Brit was about to take a private flight to Switzerland with his wife, Brazilian Fabiana Flosi, the X-ray machine detected a 32-caliber pistol in his shirt pocket. It should be noted that it carried no ammunition or magazine. And he had to pay a $ 1,240 bail to continue his journey.