Ecclestone avoids prison as he pleads guilty to fraud and agrees to pay £653m · RaceFans

Former Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud in a London court, according to reports.

The 92-year-old appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday. He admitted failing to declare that he held more than £400 million in a trust in Singapore.

The case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service in July last year following what it called a “complex and worldwide” probe by its Fraud Investigation Service.

Ecclestone has agreed to pay His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs £653m. The court gave him a 17-month prison sentenced, suspended for two years.

Ecclestone spent decades in charge of F1, transforming its commercial activities and turning it into an enormously successful operation which was purchased by current owner Liberty Media in 2016 for $8 billion (£6bn). He was originally given the position of ‘chairman emeritus’ following the sale, but this was withdrawn in 2020 following comments he made about racism in an interview.

In 2014 Ecclestone paid a court in Germany £60 million to end a court case over an alleged bribe payment made eight years earlier to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky. Last year he was arrested and released after paying bail after a gun was found in his possession when he boarded a flight from Brazil to Switzerland.

This article will be updated.

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