Bernie Ecclestone, the 92-year-old Formula One tycoon, admitted concealing a staggering £416million
How disgusting that he got away with it. How unjust that Bernie Ecclestone, worth an estimated £2.5billion, was spared jail after pleading guilty to hiding money from the taxman.
We're not talking just a small oversight here, whatever his lawyers might claim about him being unaware of the true position of his affairs. The 92-year-old Formula One tycoon admitted concealing a staggering £416million.
Yet he escaped a custodial sentence after dipping into his bulging pockets to pay an admittedly eye-watering fine of £653million.
It stinks — £416MILLION! Most of us who fill in our tax returns would be jumped on by the taxman if we were out by £416. As everyone knows, it is one rule for the super-rich — but clobber ordinary workers.
What makes it even worse is the kind of man Bernie Ecclestone is. A man who has boasted he would 'take a bullet' for the monstrous Russian President Vladimir Putin; who joked 'women should be all dressed in white like other domestic appliances'; who's lauded Adolf Hitler for 'getting things done' and who was friends and a business partner with the late Max Mosley, racist son of fascist leader Oswald.
He pleaded that at 92, with serious health conditions, a trial investigating his finances could kill him and violate his human rights as he had a three-year-old son. Perhaps selfish, rich old men should think twice before they even have kids let alone use them as a get-out-of-jail card.
His legal counsel said it was never his intention to avoid paying taxes, that he 'simply didn't know' about the hundreds of millions stashed in off-shore Singapore accounts.
How the 4.24 million self-employed in this country — brickies, gardeners, window cleaners — must have laughed, imagining the blistering response from the taxman if they'd explained they were just 'unaware' of the few thousand quid they had stashed in savings for their kids.
If there were any justice in this world, Ecclestone would be in prison. He broke the law. He was caught. And he should be behind bars, enjoying weekly visits from his young wife Fabiana and their son Ace.
Bernie Ecclestone with his young wife, Fabiana. The couple have a son, Ace
This week's judgment was a shameful day for our justice system.