F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone was punched, kicked and left with a 'minor' head injury that required hospital treatment when he found himself set upon by four muggers who stole £200,000 of jewellery from him and his Brazilian girlfriend Fabiana Flosi in central London on Wednesday night.
Ecclestone and Flosi had just arrived at the former's Formula One Holdings headquarters on Princes Gate, Knightsbridge at about 10:30pm when they were confronted and set upon by the robbers, who had palpably been lying in wait. According to media reports, Ecclestone – who recently turned 80 – was punched and kicked before his assailants made off with a haul of watches, diamond rings and other items of jewellery from the couple.
Billionaire entrepreneur Ecclestone was subsequently taken to hospital for treatment to a head injury – before characteristically returning to work just hours later – whilst lawyer, sports marketing agent and model Flosi was left shaken and shocked.
“Police were called at about 10:30pm on Wednesday, 24 November to reports of a man and a woman robbed on Princes Gate,” a Scotland Yard spokesman is quoted as having said by The Independent
. “The man was taken to a west London hospital for treatment to a minor head injury and was subsequently discharged. There were no reports of any other injuries.
“Officers from Westminster robbery squad are investigating. There have been no arrests and inquiries continue. The items stolen are believed to be a quantity of jewellery.”
“There can be little doubt that this was a targeted robbery because of who Mr. Ecclestone is,” added a senior police source, according to The Sun
, with initial suspicions that it was the same gang behind it as is being sought for other high-profile attacks. “The muggers were callous and showed little regard for the victims. They need to be caught.”
Ecclestone owns a £10 million mansion in Chelsea and has several other homes around the world, and four years ago two wheels on his brand new Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG – reputedly the first of its kind in the country – were stolen.
Less than three weeks ago, the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive defended the future status of the Brazilian Grand Prix on the annual F1 calendar in the wake of the attempted carjacking on McLaren-Mercedes star and 2009 world champion Jenson Button, claiming São Paulo is 'as safe as anywhere in the world', reasoning that 'in London...it's surprising the number of people that get mugged hourly' and calling for 'more police there' [see separate story – click here