Former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has been charged with fraud, following a HM Revenue and Customs investigation.
The charge relates to projected tax liabilities arising from more than £400mn of offshore assets which were allegedly concealed from HMRC.
The news was confirmed this afternoon (July 11) by HMRC following what a spokesperson described as a “complex and worldwide” criminal investigation by HMRC’s fraud investigation service.
Director of the fraud investigation service, Simon York said: “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 suspected of tax fraud 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,” York added.
Confirming the charge, chief crown prosecutor Andrew Penhale added: “Criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and 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.”
The first hearing in the case is expected on August 22 at Westminster Magistrates Court.
In 2015, Ecclestone entered a legal battle against HMRC over a long running dispute over an Ecclestone family’s trust and a tax bill of more than £1bn from HMRC.
Ecclestone, 91 stepped down as Formula One’s chief executive in 2017, ending his 40-year reign over the global motor racing series.