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Ex Formula One boss Ecclestone pleads not guilty to fraud charge

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone arrives for a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, in London, on June, 6, 2023. (Alberto Pezzali / AP) Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone arrives for a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, in London, on June, 6, 2023. (Alberto Pezzali / AP)

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday formally pleaded not guilty to a fraud charge over his alleged failure to declare millions of dollars held in a trust in Singapore to Britain's government.

The 92-year-old billionaire, who wore a dark suit and dark glasses, confirmed his name at London's Southwark Crown Court before entering a not guilty plea to fraud between July 2013 and October 2016.

He faces trial in November following a worldwide investigation by Britain's tax office into his finances.

Prosecutors allege he failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around US$650 million when he was asked about any trusts abroad that he was involved in.

They allege that Ecclestone claimed he had set up "only a single trust" in favour of his three daughters, and that he was "not the settler nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the U.K." Prosecutors say he acted "dishonestly" and intended to make a gain from the claims.

Ecclestone headed Formula One racing and controlled the sport for for four decades from the 1970s to 2017, when he stepped down as chief executive and Liberty Media took over the series.

The business magnate denied the fraud charge last summer and formally entered the not guilty plea on Tuesday.

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