Bernie Ecclestone received £300 million from his ex-wife as part of their divorce settlement.
Most mutli-millionaires are concerned about how much maintenance they have to pay their ex-wife when they get divorced. This doesn’t seem to have been a worry for Bernie Ecclestone, the founder of F1, who appears to be the best kept man in Britain.
Mr Ecclestone 83, was married to Slavica Ecclestone, his second wife, for 24 years until their divorce in 2009 on the grounds of his ‘unreasonable behaviour’. He married his third wife Fabiana Flosi in 2012. He was 82 and she was 35 at the time of their marriage.
Mr Ecclestone is currently on trial in Munich, where he is accused of paying a £25m bribe to a German banker. The information regarding the unusual financial arrangements of Mr Ecclestone and his ex-wife Slavica have been revealed in a 256-page indictment, which was laid before the German court last week.
The indictment states; “Since his divorce from his wife, the accused [Mr Ecclestone] has received payments on the basis of the British decree nisi. The payments amount to around $100m per year. The duration of the payments from the divorce decree is not known.”
It has transpired during the trial that the root cause of the Ecclestone’s unusual financial settlement is the family’s huge trust fund, The Bambino trust, which is at the centre of the German bribery case.
The trust is based in the tax haven of Liechtenstein and its beneficiaries are Mr Ecclestone’s ex-wife and their two daughters Tamara and Petra. The Bambino trust was set up in 1997 and into it went the proceeds from Mr Ecclestone’s sale of F1 in 2006 to a private equity firm. The trust is thought to be worth more than £2.4bn.
Typically, a wealthy husband would be making payments to his wife if he holds the majority of the assets, however, in the case of Slavia Ecclestone, her status as a beneficiary of this huge trust fund would have been taken into account during the divorce settlement process when deciding who should make payments to whom.
The Ecclestones are sure to have taken extensive expert advice about the most efficient way of structuring their divorce settlement both in in the UK and abroad. As the financial affairs of Mr Ecclestone are exposed in court, it remains to be seen exactly why Slavica is making such huge payments to her ex-husband
Mr Ecclestone denied the charges against him. The German court will reconvene for the next hearing on 2 May.