Bernie Ecclestone arrives at court to enter plea to £400m fraud charge

Bernie Ecclestone has arrived at court to formally enter a plea after being charged with one count of fraud by false representation.

The former Formula One boss is accused of failing to declare a Singapore trust worth more than £400million to the government between July 13, 2013 and October 5, 2016. Ecclestone, who is currently on unconditional bail, arrived at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday morning to enter his plea.

The 91-year-old had previously indicated he would plead not guilty to the charge at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court back in August.

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That hearing came after the Crown Prosecution Service had authorised his charge following a "complex and worldwide" investigation into his finances by HM Revenue & Customs.

At the time, Chief Crown Prosecutor Andrew Penhale said, via the Evening Standard: “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.”

Ecclestone is alleged to have failed to declare a trust in Singapore, with a bank account containing around $650million (£572million) part of the probe.

The bank account would have allowed him to draw a line under any previous tax irregularities. It is also alleged he claimed he had "established only a single trust, that being one in favour of his daughters".

He also allegedly said “other than the trust established for your daughters you were not the settler nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK”.

Ecclestone, who has three adult daughters and a young son, is alleged to have made the representations "intending to make a gain, namely not stated, for yourself".

The former F1 chief, who lives in Knightsbridge, central London, turns 92 later this month and remains on unconditional bail.

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