Thursday 12 October 2023

Ecclestone Admits Tax Fraud


Bernie Ecclestone, the former boss of Formula One, has admitted fraud after failing to declare more than £400m held in a trust in Singapore.

The 92-year-old billionaire did not disclose the trust when asked by tax authorities if he had wealth overseas.

Ecclestone has agreed in a civil settlement to repay £653m to HM Revenues and Customs, the court was told.

He had originally been due to stand trial next month after initially pleading not guilty.

He is due to be sentenced later.

Ecclestone arrived at Southwark Crown Court with his wife Fabiana and spoke only to tell the judge "I plead guilty" and confirm basic details.

He was charged following a tax investigation by HMRC, which said the probe had been "complex and worldwide".

Prosecutors say he declared "only a single trust" to tax authorities, which was established on behalf of his daughter.

According to the charge, he had told HMRC he was "not the settlor nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK".

But Ecclestone was charged when investigators uncovered evidence he stood to gain from the arrangement.

Speaking in court following Ecclestone's guilty plea, prosecutor Richard Wright KC said the defendant had knowingly given an "untrue or misleading" answer to HMRC when he told them he had no further trusts outside the UK.

He continued: "As of July 7 2015, Mr Ecclestone did not know the truth of the position, so was not able to give an answer to the question.

"Mr Ecclestone was not entirely clear on how ownership of the accounts in question were structured.

"He therefore did not know whether it was liable for tax, interest or penalties in relation to amounts passing through the accounts.

"Mr Ecclestone recognises it was wrong to answer the questions he did because it ran the risk that HMRC would not continue to investigate his affairs.

"He now accepts that some tax is due in relation to these matters."

Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Market leading tax fee protection insurance for businesses, sole traders and individuals. Protect yourself from accountancy fees in the event of an HMRC enquiry.

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your accountant (your tax return agent) to:
  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"


  1. This demonstrates that employing staff to carry out this work is excellent value for money.A properly funded HMRC should be supported by all.

  2. This sets a disturbing precedent.
    A billionaire paying tax.
    Where will it all end?

    1. thank you, on a day of miserable and depressing news, your comment made me laugh. On that note, my jaw dropped when I read that he paid a fine of over £ have such money available to pay a fine..some people live in a totally different world to the rest of us!

  3. To quote George Carlin , "It's one big club and you ain't in it..."

    At 92, he should have just kept appealing. Better just to croak before writing a cheque, or having field force knocking on the door.

    Microsoft were in the headlines about reaching some settlement. Again, that won't make much of a dent in their bottom line either.

    1. Field force?? They're a useless set of people. In my area Ormesby St Margaret norfolk there's a misfit HMRC field force person who thinks he was who was in the RAF because he helps out at the sea scouts. Borderline personality disordered? He also boasted that he once drove his car in to a tax payers garage door and he got away with it. Sickening, pathetic...have no words for 'em

    2. Are you trying to see that the HMRC (Field Force?) guy is a Sea Scouts' volunteer but, in his head, he's RAF or ex RAF. How peculiar!

    3. Genuine question - has field force not been disbanded yet?

      I was part of it once, back at its inception in 2008.

      Good staff who can communicate and collect debt, left for better paid jobs in the commercial world where they were valued by their employer and clients. I was out of there in 2010.

      The majority of field force staff are unable to collect debt and are frightened of their own shadow.

      As network offices closed, those who knew they were unemployable in the real world, desperately grabbed any field force role going.

      Its basically an assortment of the very worst HMRC staff from the last three decades or so. That mob are responsible for 'closing the tax gap' - very encouraging for our national finances, isn't it?

  4. HMRC always go after the little guy, but in this case a wealthy little guy.

  5. HMRC failing as ever...

    A useless bunch of See You Next Tuesdays...

    Uneducated, vile, moral-free scumbags...

    1. Just out of interest could you explain how HMRC have failed in this case.
      Or, indeed, what evidence you have that HMRC staff are "uneducated" in relation to staff of any other large organisation.

    2. Speaking as a tax agent who interacts with HMRC frequently, I don't think it's extraordinary that they're "uneducated" (most state educated people are!), the problem is that their average employee has an exceptionally low IQ and is unable to grasp the simplest of issues.

      Thank you for allowing me to vent, dealing with these people is so frustrating.

    3. Your vent might gain more sympathy if you hadn't just disrespected 93% of the UK population.
      Maybe you don't get the help you require because you behave like an arrogant, bigoted prat.

    4. I'm so sorry that my comment yesterday has offended, who I imagine to be, some lefty HMRC employee who failed their GCSEs. Jealousy is an awful thing...that's a joke by the way, before you go running to grab your union rep's hand!

      The comments section on this site is a joy to behold and has provided some light lunchtime entertainment for many years. Particular favourite threads are those from clearly distressed people who have been bullied by colleagues at HMRC, and they most certainly deserve empathy for that, and are then countered by trolling colleagues who deny the existence of such issues. Little people at HMRC don't know their a*se from the their elbow!

      Keep up the good work entertaining us guys, and hopefully one day HMRC's compliance remit will be privatised, allowing the professionals to take over.

    5. Stop digging. Your comment didn't particularly offend me, I just thought it was extraordinarily arrogant of you to dismiss 93% of the population as stupid. But I suppose that's what I should expect from an entitled posh boy.
      I'm not a lefty, I'm not an HMRC employee and I didn't fail my GCSEs. I passed my O and A levels with ease.
      Why would anyone in HMRC 'go running to a union rep' over a vague complaint by an anonymous outsider? If you don't work for HMRC how would you know anything about an alleged bullying culture within the workplace?
      Personally I can't wait for HMRC compliance work to be privatised. Just about every major business fraud of the past 30 years has been facilitated by the accountancy profession looking the other way and when revenue levels mysteriously plunge the scales will fall from the public's eyes.
      In short your post is utter bilge. Now run along to the champagne bar with Rupert and Clytemnestra.
      Sorry old boy, just having a 'vent'. Pip, pip!

    6. Thanks once again for providing such great content and lunchtime entertainment - we enjoy a good giggle.

      Now we have the treat of somebody who claims to not work for HMRC and claims to not be a unionised lefty, but is making nebulous accusations about accountants assisting clients with perfectly legal tax mitigation. I believe that to be the repugnant mindset that drives so many HMRC workers' stinking attitude.

      How do I know about the alleged inside 'bullying culture' at HMRC? It's been written about in online accountancy forums and, moreover, it's been mentioned on this site a few times over multiple years...

      As I say, the spectacle of bickering HMRC employees on here - employee one: 'I was bullied', employee two: 'No, you weren't', employee three: 'employee two is a brown noser' etc etc - is highly amusing at times.

      Whilst it is funny for us, it's tragic for taxpayers / citizens of the country. It visibly and publicly illustrates what an absolute sh*tshow HMRC has become.

      Also love the apt name of this blog - HMRC really is shite.

    7. HMRC staff are lefties?
      A "tax agent" who doesn't grasp the difference between evasion and avoidance?
      Seems like all that money spent on your private education was rather a waste. Still, I expect Pater wrote it off as a tax deduction.

    8. Oh dear, old chap, struggling with the basics aren't we.

      Please pinpoint where, in your mind, I have not grasped the difference between "evasion" and "avoidance"?

      Businesses exist to maximise their profits. Period. Tax is a cost to business. Sensible businesses plan to reduce their exposure to taxation. Our job as accountants is to formulate effective tax mitigation strategies within the scope of legislation.

      The coalition of The Left, the down and outs, the bitter and twisted, and the wholly educated, do seem to believe that businesses should structure their operations so as to optimise the government's tax take.

      How would HMRC staff react if the public were to say they should voluntarily pay, say, 65% of their £1500 per month to the government? Sort out that deranged thinking.

    9. I referred to "business fraud" which is evasion.
      You responded with "perfectly legal tax mitigation" which is avoidance.
      I don't think I'm the one struggling with the basics.
      I'm sure that HMRC staff would be most unhappy if it was suggested that they pay 65% tax on earnings of £1500 per month. But as nobody has ever paid 65% tax on earnings that low, and there is no suggestion that they will in the future, your point is staggeringly irrelevant.
      Indeed, one might say that it is almost 'deranged'.
      Still, I'm glad to see that you realise the coalition of the Left includes the wholly educated. Even those, presumably, who went to state schools.

  6. Wow just imagine a government that has reduced staffing in HMRC from 90k to 60k since being in power. A government that pays a third of its HMRC staff min wage. A government that could change tax laws if it wanted to. But then imagine the same government isn't getting the blame for the mess HMRC is in but it's the much dumped on staff?!?!