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Billionaire scandal: Ex-Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone pleads guilty to fraud

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Former Formula One boss, billionaire Bernie Ecclestone has entered a guilty plea to charges of fraud.

This comes in the wake of allegations made by British prosecutors that he concealed assets valued at hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

On Thursday, 92-year-old Bernie Ecclestone confessed to fraud after failing to disclose a trust situated in Singapore, which held approximately $650 million, to British tax authorities in 2015.

In a court appearance at Southwark Crown Court in London, Ecclestone made his admission, “I plead guilty,” according to Forbes report.

The Crown Prosecution Service laid fraud charges against Ecclestone last year, following a comprehensive inquiry by HMRC, the United Kingdom’s tax authority.

Previously, Ecclestone had entered a not-guilty plea, and his trial for the fraud charges was scheduled for November.

Prosecutors informed the court that Ecclestone had disclosed only one trust in favor of his daughters to tax authorities.

He misled authorities by asserting that he had no connections to additional trusts, despite his uncertainty about the ownership structures and their tax liability.

Prosecutors argued that, without accurate information, Ecclestone’s response was knowingly “untrue or misleading,” possibly obstructing further investigations into his tax affairs.

Ecclestone reportedly reached a settlement with HMRC on Monday, agreeing to pay £652.6 million ($803 million) to cover 18 years of unpaid taxes.

With a net worth of $2.9 billion, Bernie Ecclestone, known as the “F1 Supremo,” transformed Formula One from a niche sport into a global sensation during his impressive 40-year career.

In 2017, he relinquished control as Liberty Media acquired F1 for $4.4 billion.

Born to a trawler captain, Ecclestone initially established one of the UK’s largest used car dealerships after World War II and later acquired the Brabham racing team in 1971.

Despite selling most of his stake in the late 1990s, he continued to wield influence over F1’s governance and business.

Currently, Ecclestone is facing trial on fraud charges for allegedly concealing over £400 million in a trust in Singapore.

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