Ecclestone denies arrest, says gun had no bullets


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MONACO – Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Friday denied being arrested in Brazil and said an illegal weapon found in his luggage before boarding a flight had never been used and had no ammunition.

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The 91-year-old Briton, currently in Portugal, told Reuters a “silly little incident” caused a lot of aggravation as he and his family tried to leave Sao Paulo on a private plane on Wednesday evening.

“I haven’t had any publicity lately and thought I had to do something to get some,” he joked in a phone conversation.

The Sao Paulo state public security office confirmed in a statement to Reuters on Thursday that a businessman was arrested for possession of a firearm at Campinas airport, but did not report it. did not name directly.

“I’ve never been arrested,” said Ecclestone, who does not speak Portuguese and confirmed he had to post bail of 6,060 reais ($1,260) before being allowed to leave.

“They wanted it in local currency, which we never got,” he added. “So there was another drama trying to find the money. I was leaving the country, I had no local money.

“It was a bloody, pointless drama about nothing.”

Ecclestone said he bought the handgun, a LW Seecamp .32, from a Formula One mechanic or tire man in Brazil years ago without ammunition and for purely deterrent use.

“They said you needed something like that,” he explained. “It might work if someone was trying to mug you or something. So I bought it from the guy.

“I had it in the house and used to play with it if people came to visit me or something, we were joking,” he added.

The billionaire owns a coffee plantation near Sao Paulo where he regularly spends time when not in Europe.

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Ecclestone said he joked with his son Ace and left the gun in a shirt pocket and the people packing his luggage put it in a suitcase without realizing the gun was there.

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A scan of the airport then revealed the gun, which had not been registered.

“He was never going to be shot, there were never any bullets, so I never bothered to record him. I didn’t know you had to,” Ecclestone said.

The billionaire said he then spent 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the airport making statements and filling out paperwork before leaving in the morning.

“It was good that they got him back because if I had come to Portugal and they found him, it would have been another mystery here,” he said.

Ecclestone is married to Fabiana Ecclestone, of Brazilian origin, vice-president of the FIA ​​and member of the World Motor Sport Council.

His mother Aparecida Schunck was kidnapped in Sao Paulo in 2016, with the criminals demanding 120 million reais ($25.07 million) in ransom before being released nine days later in a police raid without any amount of money is paid.

The Ecclestones attended several events in the South American country in May, including a local Stock Car race in the countryside near Sao Paulo and a meeting with three-time world champion Nelson Piquet in Brasilia.


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