Bernie Ecclestone arrived in Monaco for this weekend's grand prix in the midst of another wrangle over his financial affairs.

F1's commercial guru told reporters that he had been forced to initiate legal action against the British tax authorities after they appeared to ignore a previous agreement regarding the Ecclestone family's Bambino trust and demanded the 84-year old stump up in excess of ?1bn.

"All this is technical, so I don't know what we've done or haven't done," he insisted, "I've paid all the taxes I've ever had to pay, [and the legal team] said the best thing to do to get this out of the way is to take the action they have taken."

Ecclestone cited an agreement he had with HMRC regarding Bambino's status that dated back to 2008, before questioning why the authorities had 'torn it up' in advance of the latest demand for payment. HMRC alleges that Ecclestone withheld details that now render that agreement invalid.

It is expected that a review of Ecclestone's tax affairs was conducted in the wake of the lengthy bribery case that the Briton faced in Germany, in which he was alleged to have paid off disgraced banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in order to steer the sale of F1 towards investment giant CVC. That case was settled when Ecclestone agreed to pay fees totalling $100m.

Liechtenstein-based Bambino, which is believed to have fronted the $44m paid to Gribkowsky after Ecclestone claimed to have been threatened with the revelation of his tax affairs, was set up to benefit the octogenarian's ex-wife and daughters, with Ecclestone insisting that he does not benefit from its existence.



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