In brief

Flavio Briatore definitively acquitted of tax fraud

Flavio-Briatore-min
Flavio Briatore

His yacht had already been seized and sold at auction by the Italian state.

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Twelve years of waiting and six trials. On 26 January, Flavio Briatore was definitively acquitted after a marathon trial for tax fraud.  Now cleared, the Monegasque resident and former Renault Formula One team boss obtained from the judges the annulment of the confiscation of his 63-metre yacht: Force Blue.

The problem is, the yacht in question, worth an estimated 20 million euros, had been seized in 2010 by the Italian police and sold at auction for three times less to Briatore’s friend Bernie Ecclestone, the former boss of the Formula One group. This raises the question of recouping the value of the yacht.  “The new owner of the yacht and Briatore are entitled to demand suitable compensation,” Briatore’s lawyer Massimo Pellicciotta told the Ansa news agency.

The police confiscated the yacht twelve years ago, off the Italian coast. Ownership of Force Blue was at the heart of the affair, with a British Isles company allegedly leasing it to Briatore, who was since accused of improperly evading more than €3.6 million in import VAT and more than €800,000 in fuel taxes between 2006 and 2010.

At the same time, the Genoa Court of Appeal judges also overturned the businessman’s 18-month prison sentence, pronounced in 2018.

SEE ALSO: Bernie Ecclestone says Scuderia Ferrari should recruit Flavio Briatore