London, Apr 29: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has denied accusations that that he avoided a potential tax bill of more than one billion pounds by settling a long-running Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation into his affairs with a payment of ten million pounds.
In an upcoming BBC programme, it is claimed that HMRC investigated the Ecclestone family’s tax affairs for nine years before offering to settle for a 10 million-pound payment from the family trusts in 2008.
The report mentioned that Ecclestone transferred his F1 assets to his ex-wife Slavica in the 1990s, following which they were later moved to one of the family’s trusts in the tax haven of Liechtenstein, with the programme saying that they have information Slavica paid the F1 boss about 100 million pounds each year since their divorce.
However, Ecclestone said the payment was not a settlement to call off the investigation and that it was instead the amount HMRC found he had underpaid in tax, adding that his tax bill would be about two billion pounds if he was shown to be involved in the trust.
Ecclestone further said that the trust was irrelevant and that the payments from his former wife were instalments on the money she owed him from their divorce settlement and claimed that he was the victim of a blackmail scam.
HMRC, which has faced severe criticism over its willingness to do ‘sweetheart deals’ to settle disputes with big business and the super rich, said that the settlement of all disputes is ‘governed by their published litigation and settlement strategy, ensuring that they only settle for the tax that is owed and which would otherwise be achieved through litigation’. (ANI)