Former Benetton and Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore has been handed an 18-month jail term for tax evasion. The Italian, who faced a ban from Formula 1 following his involvement in the ‘Crashgate’ scandal in 2008 – which was later overturned – is accused of avoiding to pay tax on his superyacht, ‘Force Blue’, which was often a feature of the Monte Carlo harbour during the Monaco Grand Prix.
The yacht was seized by prosectors in 2010 when a 23-month sentence was handed down, though following a lengthy appeal, that has now been reduced to 18 months.
Briatore’s lawyers claim he simply rents it from a company registered in the Virgin Islands and therefore the company, not Briatore, should be held responsible, despite said company being under Briatore’s ownership.
The charges include evading €3.6 million (£3.1m) in VAT on the yacht’s value and dodging €800,000 (£708,000) of fuel duties between 2006 and 2010.
Briatore’s lawyers said they intend to appeal the latest ruling.
Source: Motorsport Week