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20 Oct 2023

Corker Binning acts for Bernie Ecclestone in criminal proceedings

Corker Binning and Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Bernie Ecclestone, the former Formula One boss, in the criminal proceedings and civil tax investigation brought by HMRC and the CPS, which concluded at Southwark Crown Court on 12 October.

Mr Ecclestone received a 17-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to one count of fraud relating to a single misleading answer in a 2015 Code of Practice 9 interview.

Mr Ecclestone also agreed a civil settlement with HMRC, under which he will pay £652.6 million covering tax, interest and penalties.

The simultaneous disposal of the civil and criminal aspects of the case was a notable example of what can be achieved through formal plea discussions in complex cases. The case also serves as a warning of the risk of prosecution to anyone who fails to make sufficiently full disclosure to HMRC in Code of Practice 9 investigations.

The Corker Binning team, led by partners Peter Binning and Nick Barnard and assisted by associate Tasha Benkhadra, instructed Clare Montgomery KC of Matrix Chambers and Katherine Hardcastle of 6KBW. The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partners Nick Clayton and Brian Spiro.

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