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Ex-F1 chief Ecclestone faces fraud trial next October

Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone will stand trial in October next year on charges of failing to declare a multi-million pound trust in Singapore to the British tax services, a judge in London said on Tuesday.

Ecclestone, 91, was charged in July over an alleged failure to declare more than £400 million ($453 million) of overseas assets to the UK government, accusations he denies. 

He appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, arriving in the back of a white Range Rover.

Ecclestone wore glasses, a dark grey three-piece suit, white shirt and grey tie as he sat in court, unusually taking a position behind his lawyers rather than in the dock due to his hearing difficulties. 

His wife watched from the public gallery as judge Deborah Taylor fixed the trial date for October 9, 2023, saying it could last up to six weeks.

The British businessman, whose financial net worth has been estimated at some $3 billion, is widely credited with transforming F1 commercially.

His control of the sport developed from the sale of television rights in the 1970s and he was chief executive of Formula One Group until January 2017.

The Crown Prosecution Service, which brings charges in England and Wales, said it brought the case for “fraud by false representation” after a “complex and worldwide” investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

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