Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone is to be charged over an alleged £400m fraud following an HMRC probe.
The CPS has authorised the action over allegations of fraud by false representation.
It follows what HMRC called a ‘complex and worldwide criminal investigation’.
Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: ‘The CPS has reviewed a file of evidence from HMRC and has authorised a charge against Bernard Ecclestone of fraud by false representation in respect of his failure to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of £400m.
Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone is to be charged over a £400m fraud the CPS announced
Petra, Mr Ecclestone and Tamara at a fundraising event in London at the Corinthia Hotel, 2017
Mr Eccelstone had socialite daughters Tamara and Petra with second wife Slavica Radić, right
‘The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and that they have a right to a fair trial.
‘It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.’
Mr Ecclestone splits his time between his coffee farm on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a mansion in Gstaad, Switzerland, and his villa in Ibiza, where he was last seen a fortnight ago during a disastrous media round where he praised Vladimir Putin.
It is understood he is still currently overseas and will return to London soon.
Pictured: Model Tamara Ecclestone with Bernie Ecclestone who was F1 chief at the time at the F1 World Championship 2013
Pictured: Bernie Ecclestone and Tamara Ecclestone attend a Formula 1 charity photographic auction on February 07, 2014
Bernie Ecclestone: No stranger to controversy
He was previously forced to apologise when speaking in praise of Adolf Hitler, saying he was a man that could ‘get things done.’
At the same time, he accused Jews of failing to solve the banking crisis, even though ‘they have a lot of influence everywhere’.
A spokesman for Germany’s Central Council of Jews said: ‘No team should work with him any more – a boycott would be more than appropriate.’
When seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton launched a commission to tackle racism and diversity in F1 following the murder of George Floyd, Ecclestone initially praised the idea.
However he then asked whether it would ‘do anything bad or good for Formula One’, before adding: ‘In a lot of cases, black people are more racist than white people are.’
Hamilton took to Instagram to brand Ecclestone ‘ignorant and uneducated’, before the Formula One Group was forced to issue a statement saying they ‘completely disagree with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society.’
He later apologised for describing Putin as a ‘first class person’ and that he would ‘take a bullet for him’. He missed the Austrian grand prix over the weekend.
Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service (FIS), HMRC, said: ‘We can confirm that a fraud by false representation charge has been authorised against Bernard Ecclestone.
‘This follows a complex and worldwide criminal investigation by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
‘The criminal charge relates to projected tax liabilities arising from more than £400m of offshore assets which were concealed from HMRC.
‘HMRC is on the side of honest taxpayers and we will take tough action wherever we suspect tax fraud. Our message is clear – no one is beyond our reach.
‘We remind people to refrain from commentary or sharing of information that could prejudice proceedings in any way.
‘This is now a matter for the courts and we will not be commenting further.’
Mr Ecclestone became a father for the fourth time when he welcomed son Ace last July with Fabiana, who he married in 2012.
The billionaire businessman is already a father to daughters Deborah, 66, Tamara and Petra Ecclestone.
Deborah was born to his first wife Ivy Bamford before he welcomed socialites Tamara and Petra with his second wife Slavica Radić.
Bernie married Fabiana three years after he divorced Croatian Slavica. He confirmed he and Fabiana were expecting a child to Swiss newspaper Blick last April.
The case will first be heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 22.