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Other SportsEcclestone avoids jail after pleading guilty to fraud

Ecclestone avoids jail after pleading guilty to fraud

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone was handed a 17-month jail term suspended for two years after pleading guilty to fraud on Thursday following a “complex and worldwide” tax investigation.

The 92-year-old was due to stand trial next month after previously denying guilt but changed his plea on Thursday and admitted failing to declare over £400million held in a trust in Singapore. He has now paid a settlement fee of over £652million to HMRC to bring the matter to a close.

Mr Justice Bryan spared Ecclestone a jail sentence after ruling there was no intention of deliberately seeking to dodge tax.

The Judge at Southwark Crown Court said, as reported by the Evening Standard: “There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation as demonstrated by your efforts to settle your tax affairs.

“Immediate custody would result in significant harmful impact to your family, including your young child.”

On entering his guilty plea, Ecclestone’s representative Clare Montgomery KC said: “Obviously [Bernie] bitterly regrets the events that have led to this criminal trial.

“He had no intention to avoid paying tax and has always been willing to pay the tax that’s due.

“He simply didn’t know the answer to HMRC’s question, and he should have said ‘I don’t know’ instead of ‘no’.”

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