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Briatore handed prison sentence for tax evasion

NEWS STORY
12/02/2018

Former Benetton and Renault team boss Flavio Briatore has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for tax evasion.

The flamboyant Italian, who still manages a number of racing drivers including Fernando Alonso, is appealing the sentence which relates to VAT (value added tax) on a multi-million dollar superyacht named Force Blue.

A close friend of Bernie Ecclestone, who is experiencing his own brush with the British tax authorities at present, Briatore was banned from F1 following his involvement in the incident during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, forever known as Crashgate.

Almost a year later, after being dropped by Renault after the Hungarian Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet Jr hit out at the French team and its boss Briatore, claiming that the Italian had favoured teammate Fernando Alonso. The Brazilian youngster subsequently claimed that at the previous year's Singapore Grand Prix he had been ordered to deliberately crash his car in order that the anticipated safety car would advantage the Spaniard.

The Renault team was disqualified from F1, albeit suspended for two years, while Briatore and director of engineering, Pat Symonds, were both banned from the sport.

Though the bans were subsequently overturned and Symonds eventually returned to the sport, first as a consultant to Virgin before joining Williams as chief technical officer, Briatore's involvement has been limited to driver management.

Briatore purchased Force Blue from Home Shopping Network investor Roy Speer for 68.2m, the Italian admitting it to be the most extravagant present he had ever bought himself. However, in 2010 it was seized by officers investigating a tax fraud over its charter status.

The Italian insists he does not own the 63-metre yacht but merely rents it from a company registered in the Virgin Islands, however, the prosecution argued that Briatore owns said company.

Charged with not paying 3.6 million euros in VAT on the superyacht's value, Briatore was also charged with avoiding 800,000 euros in fuel duty.

While prosecutors demanded a 4-year sentence, Briatore was initially handed a 23-month sentence which he appealed. Reduced now to 18-months, he is appealing yet again.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by @R1Racing71, 13/02/2018 14:41

"@Amspeed. And not forgetting the '94 Benetton ;)
I'm almost too scared to even mention what I think about this character, a quick Wiki will give you an idea of the type of person he is.
It's unlikely he will go to prison, and more likely I'll find a horses head in the bed this evening."

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2. Posted by Amspeed, 12/02/2018 19:44

"Aren't we all a little tired of how these 'mega-millionaires' are exploiting motor sport to the advantage their own pockets. Briatore was never a racing fan. Brought in by Benetton to manage their Formula One team, he was smart enough to see the advantages and loopholes that he was able exploit. And then 'Crashgate....'. Guess he thought he could get away with that too. As much as I respect Fernando as I driver, I question why he continues to trust Briatore as a 'manager'. He doesn't need him. Briatore has been sitting on his a**e in Monaco for the past several years making negative comments about F.1. when he, himself, was prepared to see it dragged into the gutter. All this while pocketing a percentage of Fernando's income. Someone tell me why Briatore has been so important to Formula One and I'll retract these comments..... (and don't say 'Schumacher' - he would've made it anyway!) "

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3. Posted by The edge, 12/02/2018 15:50

"I hope the court of appeal extends it to 4 years"

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