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How F1’s Bernie Ecclestone Flipped His Massive $30 Million Superyacht

Bernie's still got it.

How F1’s Bernie Ecclestone Flipped His Massive $30 Million Superyacht

Image: DMARGE

Luxury superyacht Force Blue — once owned by American tycoon Roy Speer and later by Italian millionaire Flavio Briatore — ended up in the hands of former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who flipped it for an impressive profit.

From Jeff Bezos to Vladimir Putin , everyone who’s anyone has a fancy superyacht. Now, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone hasn’t just joined that privileged club, but he’s shown everyone else how to make a quick buck in the process.

As reported by Auto Evolution , Force Blue entered the world more than two decades ago in 2002. It spent its initial seven years under Roy Speer’s ownership. However, the journey took an exciting turn when Flavio Briatore acquired the Royal Denship yacht. Like many superyacht owners, Briatore gave it a makeover, infusing it with Italian style.

WATCH: Check out Jeff Bezos’ $700m superyacht…

A Decade of Waiting

Unfortunately for Briatore, his time with Force Blue was short-lived: In 2010, Italian authorities seized the yacht due to allegations of unpaid taxes while it was docked in the famous La Spezia on the Italian Riviera. While legal battles between Briatore and the authorities raged on, Force Blue waited in limbo.

Force Blue languished without a rightful owner for an entire decade as legal disputes rolled on. Then, in 2021, the yacht suddenly went up for auction. The winning bidder? Bernie Ecclestone, former Chief Exec of Formula One and a close friend of Briatore.

Ecclestone secured the yacht for an absolute steal: With a starting bid of just €7 million (~$12 million AUD), this was less than half of its estimated value and a fraction of what Briatore had reportedly paid for it back in 2009, which was just under $87 million USD (~$115 million AUD).

Ecclestone’s Makeover Magic

Ecclestone wasted no time after acquiring Force Blue : He embarked on a comprehensive refit that transformed the old expedition yacht into a modern, high-end vessel.

The refit boasts a beach club, a state-of-the-art spa — considered one of the largest spa facilities on the water — a private cinema and, perhaps most impressively, a DJ booth with a massive disco-lighting rig that’s capable of accommodating up to 60 seated guests or over 300 for quay events.

Force Blue yacht interior.

Weighing in at over 1,300 tons, Force Blue provides lavish accommodation for 12 guests and a sizable crew of 19. The lower deck featured five guest cabins, while the upper deck was dedicated to the full-beam master suite.

Luxury Redefined

It’s safe to say that with its brand-new full-height windows offering stunning sea views, Force Blue has become a superyacht that inspires envy amongst the rich elites who seem to purchase these vessels like it’s going out of fashion. No doubt it now requires the kind of extensive, cutting-edge security that we’ve come to see across the sector too.

Most impressively, however, is its massively increased worth after the refit, especially when you take into account the bargain bucket price that Eccelstone snapped it up for.

While experts are being cagey about an updated sale price, seemingly not wanting to let a number slip before Eccelstone decides he’s ready to sell and — given his undeniable business nouse — figures out his own magic number, suffice to say he should be able to more than triple his €7 million investment…

While most superyacht owners are hardly strapped for cash, it’s still quite the flex to make such an impressive return on such a massive and seemingly superfluous investment… it seems that Bernie’s still got it.

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Nautical News

Bernie Ecclestone buys USD 25 million yacht FORCE BLUE for 9 million

nauticanews

Bernie Ecclestone, has gifted himself the FORCE BLUE yacht from his former partner Flavio Briatore.

Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone bought Flavio Briatore’s $ 25,000,000 yacht for $ 9,000,000 , which had been seized by police and auctioned

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The impressive 63-meter yacht Fraser Force Blue was recently up for auction, after Briatore, who bought it in 2002 for $ 93,000,000 , failed to pay about $ 4,000,000 in VAT on the boat between 2006 and 2010, as well as USD 960,000 in fuel taxes.

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The yacht, which happens to be the 78th largest on the planet, was initially available for charter in the Mediterranean, before the court decided to sell it at auction.

With capacity for 12 guests, Force Blue has luxurious features that include a spa, gym and Jacuzzi for relaxation, as well as a movie theater and disco.

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The Dubrovnik Times

Bernie Ecclestone's luxury yacht Petara arrives to Dubrovnik

The luxury yacht Petara, owned by Bernie Ecclestone, arrived to Port of Gruz yesterday, according to Dubrovacki vjesnik .

Bernie, who is expecting a child with his wife Fabiana Flossi (42) at the age of 89, is a frequent guest in our city.

The yacht Petara, 58 meters long and worth about 35 million dollars, was named after Petra and Tamara, Bernie's daughters from his marriage with his Croatian ex-wife, Slavica.

According to media reports, one of the richest people in the world, Bernie Ecclestone, considers the Adriatic as his refuge, even though more than ten years have passed since he divorced Slavica, with whom he started coming to the Adriatic. Ecclestone and Slavica divorced after 24 years of marriage, and their divorce was declared one of the most expensive in history.

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bernie ecclestone new yacht

Billionaire's parking lot: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, P Diddy and Bernie Ecclestone all moor their luxury yachts off the coast of St. Barts as the annual bacchanal of celebrities parading their wealth on vacation begins

  • The rich and powerful have descended on the Caribbean mooring their yachts off the coast of St. Barts
  • Billionaire's started to arrive into the paradise location just before Christmas many staying till the New Year
  • Jerry Jones, P Diddy and Bernie Ecclestone were seen moored near each other in the Billionaire's parking lot
  • Many of the yachts cost millions and boast helicopter decks, gyms, pools and other luxuries fit for the elite  

By Aneeta Bhole For Dailymail.Com

Published: 15:38 EDT, 27 December 2022 | Updated: 17:41 EDT, 27 December 2022

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, P Diddy and Bernie Ecclestone have all moored their luxury yachts off the coast of St. Barts as the annual bacchanal of celebrities parading their wealth on vacation sets in.

The billionaire's parking lot off the coast of the Caribbean island, known for its white sand beaches and designer shopping, was looking a little less crowded this year without the traditional Russian oligarch superyachts, but still saw a healthy list of notable guests.

Pictures from the Caribbean paradise showed Ecclestone in his yacht 'Force Blue,' Diddy in his vessel Victorious and Galaxy housing Dave Hagewood sitting nearby one another.

Meanwhile, snaps from the sunny coastline saw Ernesto Bertarelli in his yacht Vava, Rising Sun the seaworthy vacation home of David Geffen and Jones in the Bravo Eugenia, named after his wife.

The rich and powerful have descended on the Caribbean mooring their yachts off the coast of St. Barts. Billionaire's started to arrive into the paradise location just before Christmas many staying till the New Year Jerry Jones, P Diddy and Bernie Ecclestone were seen moored near each other in the Billionaire's parking lot Many of the yachts cost millions and boast helicopter decks, gyms, pools and other luxuries fit for the elite

The rich and powerful have descended on the Caribbean mooring their yachts off the coast of St. Barts Billionaire's started to arrive into the paradise location just before Christmas many staying till the New Year

Jerry Jones, P Diddy and Bernie Ecclestone were seen moored near each other in the Billionaire's parking lot. Many of the yachts cost millions and boast helicopter decks, gyms, pools and other luxuries fit for the elite crowd

Jerry Jones, P Diddy and Bernie Ecclestone were seen moored near each other in the Billionaire's parking lot. Many of the yachts cost millions and boast helicopter decks, gyms, pools and other luxuries fit for the elite crowd

The billionaire's parking lot off the coast of the Caribbean island, known for its white sand beaches and designer shopping, was looking a little less crowded this year without the traditional Russian oligarch superyachts

The billionaire's parking lot off the coast of the Caribbean island, known for its white sand beaches and designer shopping, was looking a little less crowded this year without the traditional Russian oligarch superyachts

The notable guests have all moored their luxury yachts off the coast of St. Barts as the annual bacchanal of celebrities parading their wealth on vacation sets in

The notable guests have all moored their luxury yachts off the coast of St. Barts as the annual bacchanal of celebrities parading their wealth on vacation sets in

According to Forbes , the superyacht showdown started early this year, with several high-profile billionaires anchored just outside of Gustavia and neighboring St. Maarten, and Antigua.

Many started to arrive just before Christmas and will stay on and party with traditional fireworks expected on New Year's Eve.

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Many of the yachts cost millions and boast helicopter decks, gyms, pools and other luxuries fit for the elite occupants enjoying the high life on the high seas over the holiday period.

Bravo Eugenia: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

Back in 2019, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones purchased the 357 foot Bravo Eugenia from Dutch firm Oceanco.

Jones made news with the yacht when he made the NFL draft picks for the Cowboys on board the vessel back in 2020. The yacht is named in honor of his wife Eugenia Jones. 

The team owner spent an estimated $225 million to $250 million and there's a yearly upkeep cost of about $15 million to $20 million, according to Boatsafe .

The vessel uses a unique green design that makes it more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly and its top speed is around 18 knots. 

The superyacht has a helipad for bringing guests on board, seven cabins capable of accommodating 14 guests for overnight stays, four decks worth of space and accommodates 30 crew members and quarters to house them. 

It also comes equipped with a gym, swimming pool/plunge pool, sauna and a steam room, massage room, rain shower, beach club and Teppanyaki bar. A large garage also houses jet skis and tubes.

Back in 2019, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones purchased the 357 foot Bravo Eugenia from Dutch firm Oceanco

Back in 2019, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones purchased the 357 foot Bravo Eugenia from Dutch firm Oceanco

The yacht is named in honor of his wife Eugenia Jones. The team owner spending an estimated $225 million to $250 million and there's a yearly upkeep cost of about $15 million to $20 million

Jones made news with the yacht when he made the NFL draft picks for the Cowboys on board the vessel back in 2020. The yacht is named in honor of his wife Eugenia Jones

The team owner spent an estimated $225 million to $250 million and there's a yearly upkeep cost of about $15 million to $20 million

The team owner spent an estimated $225 million to $250 million and there's a yearly upkeep cost of about $15 million to $20 million

The superyacht has a helipad for bringing guests on board, seven cabins capable of accommodating 14 guests for overnight stays

The vessel uses a unique green design that makes it more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly and its top speed is around 18 knots

Force Blue: Former Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone, gifted himself the 207 feet Force Blue yacht from his former partner Flavio Briatore.

The former F1 boss bought Briatore's $25 million yacht for $9 million after it had been seized by police and auctioned, according to nautica .

The impressive 63-meter yacht was up for auction, after Briatore, who bought it in 2002 failed to pay about $4 million in VAT on the boat between 2006 and 2010, as well as $960,000 in fuel taxes.

The vessel comes with a fully equipped spa center, a gym, lounging and sunbathing areas, movie theatre and can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Bernie Ecclestone, gifted himself the 207 feet Force Blue yacht from his former partner Flavio Briatore

Bernie Ecclestone, gifted himself the 207 feet Force Blue yacht from his former partner Flavio Briatore

The former F1 boss bought Briatore's $25 million yacht for $9 million after it had been seized by police and auctioned

The former F1 boss bought Briatore's $25 million yacht for $9 million after it had been seized by police and auctioned

The vessel comes with a fully equipped spa center, a gym, lounging and sunbathing areas, movie theatre and can accommodate up to 12 guests

The vessel comes with a fully equipped spa center, a gym, lounging and sunbathing areas, movie theatre and can accommodate up to 12 guests

Victorious: Music mogul P Diddy

The 279 feet expedition motor yacht Victorious was built by the Ak Yachts shipyard Turkey and boasts classically chic interiors and can be chartered for $850,000 per week. 

Music Mogul P Diddy was seen enjoying his vacation in St. Barts in the yacht that can accommodate up to 12 guests across 11 guest suites.

The vessel also has five staterooms located on the main deck, four on the lower, and two on the bridge deck. 

While onboard guests can also enjoy a 10-seat cinema, heated swimming pool, hammam, an aft deck Jacuzzi, a cocktail lounge observation saloon, and a dazzling upper deck complete with a sky lounge for panoramas.

The yacht also carries up to 22 crew onboard across 11 cabins.

The 53-year-old rapper-turned-record executive was spotted on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy on Christmas Eve and has been posting a number of pictures and videos to social media. 

Rapper-turned-record executive P Diddy was spotted on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy on Christmas Eve and has been posting a number of pictures and videos to social media

Rapper-turned-record executive P Diddy was spotted on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy on Christmas Eve and has been posting a number of pictures and videos to social media

The 279 feet expedition motor yacht Victorious was built by the Ak Yachts shipyard Turkey and boasts classically chic interiors and can be chartered for $850,000 per week

The 279 feet expedition motor yacht Victorious was built by the Ak Yachts shipyard Turkey and boasts classically chic interiors and can be chartered for $850,000 per week

Music Mogul P Diddy was seen enjoying his vacation in St. Barts in the yacht that can accommodate up to 12 guests across 11 guest suites

Music Mogul P Diddy was seen enjoying his vacation in St. Barts in the yacht that can accommodate up to 12 guests across 11 guest suites

The vessel also has five staterooms located on the main deck, four on the lower, and two on the bridge deck

The vessel also has five staterooms located on the main deck, four on the lower, and two on the bridge deck

The yacht also carries up to 22 crew onboard across 11 cabins

The yacht also carries up to 22 crew onboard across 11 cabins

Rising Sun: DreamWorks founder David Geffen 

Rising Sun is a motor yacht designed by Jon Bannenberg, and built in 2004 by Germany's Lurssen at their Bremen shipyard for Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, and last refitted in 2007.

It has been owned since 2010 by businessman David Geffen, who had bought a half share of the yacht initially in late 2006.

It has a gym, a basketball court, a wine cellar and a movie theater among the yacht's 82 rooms.

Geffen often has a star studded list of celebrities on board including Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Springsteen, Gayle King, Julia Roberts, Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey and Orlando Bloom to name a few. 

Geffen and his crew of 45 self-isolated in the Grenadines on Rising Sun during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Rising Sun is a motor yacht designed by Jon Bannenberg, and built in 2004 by Germany's Lurssen at their Bremen shipyard for Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, and last refitted in 2007

Rising Sun is a motor yacht designed by Jon Bannenberg, and built in 2004 by Germany's Lurssen at their Bremen shipyard for Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, and last refitted in 2007

Geffen with Orlando Bloom

Geffen often has a star studded list of celebrities on board including Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Springsteen, Gayle King, Julia Roberts, Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey and Orlando Bloom to name a few 

It has a gym, a basketball court, a wine cellar and a movie theater among the yacht's 82 rooms

It has a gym, a basketball court, a wine cellar and a movie theater among the yacht's 82 rooms

Galaxy: Video game developer Dave Hagewood

Dave Hagewood is the proud owner of the 'burning man inspired' ultra-luxe superyacht Galaxy which stands at 184 foot tall. 

In an interview with Forbes , Hagewood said he wanted something that was unique and to his taste. 

'I was just magnetized to this,' says Hagewood when he talks about first stepping aboard. 

'We vibed with it even though it was an older boat with a dated interior because we're good at imagining what could be changed.

Unique design features include the master suite that has a music studio and unique snuggle space in their private apartment in the bow. 

The cosmic-inspired accents include the illuminated headboard with their own star signs and an upper saloon which features one-of-a-kind artwork by Hannah Camille, and a space for playing the piano and dining. 

Dave Hagewood is the proud owner of the burning man inspired ultra-luxe superyacht Galaxy which stands at 184 foot tall

Dave Hagewood is the proud owner of the burning man inspired ultra-luxe superyacht Galaxy which stands at 184 foot tall

In an interview Hagewood said he wanted something that was unique and to his taste when he redesigned the interior of the vessel

In an interview Hagewood said he wanted something that was unique and to his taste when he redesigned the interior of the vessel

Unique design features include the master suite that has a music studio and unique snuggle space in their private apartment in the bow

Unique design features include the master suite that has a music studio and unique snuggle space in their private apartment in the bow

The cosmic-inspired accents include the illuminated headboard with their own star signs and an upper saloon which features one-of-a-kind artwork by Hannah Camille, and a space for playing the piano and dining

The cosmic-inspired accents include the illuminated headboard with their own star signs and an upper saloon which features one-of-a-kind artwork by Hannah Camille, and a space for playing the piano and dining

According to Forbes , the superyacht showdown started early this year, with several high-profile billionaires anchored just outside of Gustavia and neighboring St. Maarten, and Antigua

According to Forbes , the superyacht showdown started early this year, with several high-profile billionaires anchored just outside of Gustavia and neighboring St. Maarten, and Antigua

In April, the FBI and Spanish authorities seized mega yacht Monday owned by oligarch and Putin friend Viktor Vekselberg – amid calls for even tighter sanctions on Russia following new discoveries of atrocities outside Kyiv.

The 254-foot vessel was docked in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain's Balearic Islands and a playground and tax haven for the wealthy.

The seizure was a joint operation including FBI and Homeland Security Investigations as well as Spain's Civil Guard carried out at the request of U.S. authorities.

The seizure was the the first in the U.S. government's sanctions initiative to 'seize and freeze' giant vessels and other pricey assets of Russian elites in an effort to turn up pressure on Putin in response to the invasion.

It came hours after new horrors emerged from the suburb of Bucha outside Kyiv, Ukrainian forces who pushed back Russian invaders discovered bodies of Ukrainian citizens shot dead in the street, some with their hands tied behind their backs.

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Bernie's One Man Show

Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone's grip over control of the sport seems to be under threat. Not only has Ferrari's president Luca Di Montezemolo said he believes the sport needs "a more modern view", but Bernie Ecclestone F1 future is under cloud as bribery charges are prepared .

bernie ecclestone new yacht

Bernie Ecclestone on Hvar

  • by croatiaweek
  • August 13, 2014
  • in Entertainment

Croatia

He may well be divorced a while now from his Croatian wife, but it has not stopped Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone from holidaying on the Croatian coast…

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bernie ecclestone new yacht

Inside Bernie Ecclestone's property empire

  • Bernie Ecclestone pleads guilty to fraud after not declaring £400million 
  • The court heard today that he reached a settlement with HMRC to pay £652.6m 
  • The former Formula One boss owns a staggering property empire worth millions 

Bernie Ecclestone made a real name for himself in the world of Formula One over the years.

The 92-year-old has amassed millions and has used the money to invest in his staggering property empire - which includes a chalet in Switzerland.

It is fair to say that the former F1 chief also looks after his children well, with his daughter Tamara owning a luxurious mansion in the heart of Kensington.

The former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has admitted fraud after failing to declare more than £400 million held in a trust in Singapore to the Government.

Mail Sport takes a look at Bernie Ecclestone's property empire.

Bernie Ecclestone's property portfolio

Ecclestone boasts a staggering property portfolio empire. The 92-year-old used to own a home in Kensington Park Gardens that overlooked the palace Harry and Meghan Markle lived in.

He reportedly sold the property for a whopping £57m when his ex-wife, Slavica Radic reportedly refused to move in.

Ecclestone also had an apartment in Knightsbridge - which was situated above the old F1 offices in Princes Gate.

In 2017, he decided to relocate to Switzerland after Liberty Manor took control of the group. 

He currently lives in a chalet called 'Le Lion' - which is worth £23m. It is located in the resort town of Gstaad.

It has been in the family name for over 20 years and it is where Bernie and Fabiana married in a private ceremony in 2012. 

The former F1 boss also owns a luxurious alpine retreat named 'Hotel Olden.' It's a four star hotel which is rated one of the best in the town. 

Yacht collection 

He also owns a £30m yacht which he named after his daughter Petra. The Petara can accommodate 12 guests, has a spacious contemporary interior and boasts a cruise speed of 16 knots. 

In 2022, Eccleston added another yacht to his whopping collection. The 63 metre Force Blue was bought for £6.6m - despite it being valued at around £17.5m.

It features a spa, gym and a Jacuzzi to relax in as well as a cinema and a nightclub. 

Coffee plantation 

The 92-year-old also owns an impressive £8m farm in Brazil that is bigger than Monaco. It is used to create coffee for his own batch called Celerity Coffee. 

More than 30 people work on the farm - which has 600 cows and cattle, 18 horses, six ponies, eight dogs and several dozens of chickens and swans. 

It is believed that staff live in one of the 22 homes built on a field the size of an 11 aside football pitch.

The farm was abandoned before the Ecclestone family took over.

'I've been in Brazil along 45 years and I've made a lot of friends. I've had really happy times around here,' Ecclestone once told Sprudge .

Bernie's wife Fabiana currently manages the brand - while the plan is to go global in hotels and restaurants in the near future. 

Tamara Ecclestone's lavish London mansion 

It is fair to say that Ecclestone looks after his children well - with his daughter Tamara living in a lavish £70m mansion - which is complete with a gold bathtub and 50 staff.

She shares the Kensington property with her husband Jay Rutland along with her two children. 

The couple bought the property in 2011 for £45m, however, experts estimate that it has since doubled in price.

It boasts 57 rooms in total, with Tamara revealing that the family only really live in the kitchen, living room and the bedroom. 

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bernie ecclestone new yacht

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Jan 14, 2023 | 7:30 AM EST

bernie ecclestone new yacht

SOCHI, RUSSIA – SEPTEMBER 28: Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman Emeritus of the Formula One Group, looks on in the Paddock before final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 28, 2019 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

We are in the off-season and F1 drivers are using the time off to vacation and rejuvenate before the start of the 2023 season. Also in the partying and vacationing mood is former F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone. The F1 mogul is enjoying the blue waters of the Caribbean in his yacht with none other than Sean Combs, aka P. Diddy.

It looks like F1 entities are quite a fan of yachts. We recently saw Lewis Hamilton enjoying himself with Olympian Shaun White and his actor girlfriend Nina Dobrev on a mega-yacht. The Brit’s $243 million ride took him to Antarctica where he went out for a 7-mile run, along the trail that featured penguins and seals. The mega yacht called Octopus boasts a glass-bottomed aquarium, dive center, and underwater robot. It was previously owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and its current owner is the Swedish billionaire Roger Samuelsson.

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bernie ecclestone new yacht

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 23: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone walks in the Paddock before the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2016 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

However, it seems like the 7-time world champion is not the only one from F1 who enjoys a sweet ride in the ocean. As per Daily Mail, Bernie Ecclestone recently spent his time in the pristine waters of the Caribbean island Saint Barthelemy . The place is a perfect vacation spot for the who’s who of the world that own multi-million dollar worth yachts. Bernie took his $9 million boat Force Blue along as well. Also present at the time was American rapper P. Diddy. Diddy took his ride Victorious with him.

Read More: Emotional Lewis Hamilton Shares Parting Words to Mercedes F1 Confidante

As per the British tabloid, producer David Geffen was present as well. On board his yacht, Rising Sun were Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, and Bruce Springsteen. The vessel with 82 rooms has a basketball court, a wine cellar, and a cinema room as well.

Bernie Ecclestone flogs existing teams for blocking Mario Andretti’s entry into F1

Mario Andretti has been vehemently trying to float his own team in F1 for quite some time now. The existing teams, or at least most of them, are not interested in having another competitor on the grid. The reason Mercedes boss Toto Wolff cited was the 10% dilution of the share of the annual prize money among the existing teams. Ecclestone, however, refused to buy the argument recently.

bernie ecclestone new yacht

MOGI GUACU, BRAZIL – MAY 15: Bernie Ecclestone during a visit to the Velocitta racetrack for a Stock Car and Formula 4 race on May 15, 2022 in Mogi Guacu, Brazil. (Photo by Marcelo Machado de Melo/Getty Images)

Roger Benoit reported him as saying,  “The name Andretti would be very good for the sport, which is now spreading more and more in America. Many teams are simply afraid that they will have to share the billion dollar cake with an eleventh team. But according to the law, only the ten best teams continue to concede. Where is the problem? Up to two years after joining, nothing would change anyway!” [Translated using Google]

Watch This Story: Lewis Hamilton Kicks Off Mammoth $140 Million Hollywood Passion Project

Andretti recently announced his partnership with General Motors’ brand Cadillac. Fans are eagerly waiting for F1’s approval to allow them to compete in the championship soon.

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bernie ecclestone new yacht

Inside Bernie Ecclestone’s amazing life with wife Fabiana, 46, including £30m yacht, £3bn fortune and his own MOUNTAIN

  • Published : 17:55, 11 Jul 2022
  • Updated : 19:02, 11 Jul 2022
  • Published : Invalid Date,

FORMER Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and his Brazilian wife Fabiana live a life of luxury which includes £30million yachts and a total fortune worth £3billion.

Ecclestone, 91, was chief executive of Formula 1 , until he was replaced by Irish-American Chase Carey in 2017.

Bernie Ecclestone, 91, and wife Fabiana, 46, live a life of luxury with a fortune of around £3billion

But since moving away from F1, he and wife Fabiana, 46, live a life of luxury - swimming in a fortune believed to be around £3bn.

Not only does he have use of a £30m yacht, Ecclestone also has luxury homes, a coffee plantation and his own MOUNTAIN .

However, despite his large fortune, Ecclestone has landed himself in hot water after he was charged with fraud .

The British business magnate was accused of failing to declare overseas assets worth more than £400m to the taxman.

READ MORE IN F1

bernie ecclestone new yacht

Bernie Ecclestone charged with fraud after 'failing to declare £400m'

Ecclestone will appear before magistrates in Westminster, London at 10am on August 22.

The ex-F1 supremo also hit the headlines after claiming he'd "take a bullet" for Russian president Valdimir Putin.

In a car-crash interview, the billionaire also ridiculed hero Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a "comedian".

He launched into a bizarre rant on Good Morning Britain that showered the tyrant Putin in grim applause for his evil invasion of Ukraine.

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PROPERTY PORTFOLIO

Bernie's property empire is one to envy.

He did formerly own a home in Kensington Park Gardens that overlooked the palace Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lived in until they dropped their royal titles.

But he sold it for a whopping £57m when ex-wife Slavica Radic reportedly refused to move in.

In London he had an apartment in Knightsbridge, above the old F1 offices in Princes Gate.

However, in 2017 he relocated to Switzerland after Liberty Media took control of the group and offered him an undefined role as emeritus chairman.

Today, he lives in a £23m chalet called 'Le Lion' in the exclusive resort town of Gstaad, where neighbours include Italian fashion designer Valentino.

It's been in the Ecclestone family name for over 20 years, and is where Bernie and Fabiana married in a private ceremony in 2012.

Astonishingly, he also owns a mountain in Gstaad called the Glacier 3000.

Daughter Tamara revealed the extravagant purchase on her reality show Tamara's World saying he bought it simply because "he liked it".

Bernie also owns a stunning alpine retreat, Hotel Olden - a four star hotel that's rated one of the best in Gstaad.

Bernie and Fabiana live in the picturesque town of Gstaad in Switzerland

Daughters Petra and Tamara are clearly the apple of Bernie's eye.

They too share in his wealth, living the high-life in multi-million pound homes.

But, ensuring they know exactly how much they mean to him, he named his £30m yacht after them.

The Petara can accommodate 12 guests, has a spacious contemporary interior designed by Studio Celeste Dell’Anna, and boasts a cruise speed of 16 knots.

She was seen last year arriving at Port of Gruz in the beautiful Croatian hotspot Dubrovnik, where Bernie loves to visit on holiday.

Croatia is believed to be Bernie's favourite holiday destination, so toddler Ace, 2, can look forward to spending his early years there.

This year he added ANOTHER yacht to his collection that belonged to his old mate Flavio Briatore.

The stunning 63-metre Force Blue became available for auction, after Briatore was convicted of not paying the VAT.

Ecclestone snapped it up for just £6.6m - despite it being valued at around £17.5m.

Able to house 12 guests, Force Blue possesses luxury features including a spa, gym and Jacuzzi to relax in - as well as a cinema and a nightclub.

And if he doesn't want travel by sea, he can always go by air in his £40m Dassault Falcon 7X.

It seats 12 passengers, promising uncompromising cabin comfort, and has a range of 5,950 nautical miles.

Ecclestone's private yacht Petara was named after his two daughters

COFFEE PLANTATION

Aside from motorsport and love of Chelsea, Bernie has a passion for coffee.

It's what led him to buying an impressive £8million farm in Brazil that's bigger than Monaco, where he creates his own batch called Celebrity Coffee.

Over 30 people work on the farm, where there are around 600 cows and cattle, 18 horses, six ponies, eight dogs, and dozens of chickens and swans.

Expensive Japanese koi carp can also be found in the ponds surrounding the farm's entrance.

Staff live on site in one of 22 homes built on a field the size of a football pitch.

A short golf kart buggy ride away is the plantation, where the magic happens.

The Ycatu Plantation was abandoned until the Ecclestones took over, and they hired experts to restore the land.

“I’ve been in Brazil along 45 years and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve had really happy times around here,” Ecclestone once told  Sprudge .

It's Fabiana who manages the brand, with the plan to go global in luxury hotels and restaurants.

Ecclestone owns a coffee plantation in Brazil

FAMILY COMES FIRST

In 2020, at the age of 89, Bernie became a dad for the fourth time when baby Ace arrived into the world .

His eldest child, Deborah, 67, was born to his first wife Ivy Bamford before he had socialites Tamara, 38, and Petra, 33, with his second wife, Slavica Radic.

Unlike her sisters, Deborah shuns the limelight. Like dad she works in business but not much is known about her personal life.

But Tamara and Petra made sure they enjoyed daddy's wealth, when they were given access to some of his funds when they turned 18 through a trust.

They spent fortunes on designer clothes, luxurious handbags, shoes and more.

"I don't think they should have bought handbags and shoes but anyway, they are in the fortunate position of being able to," he told The Independent in 2012.

And they also have a penchant for living in expensive homes.

Petra lives near basketball legend LeBron James in the exclusive Brentwood neighbourhood of Los Angeles in a home said to be worth £18m, after flipping a Holmby Hills mansion for £95m.

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While Tamara lives with husband Jay Rutland and their daughter Sofia in a 57-room mansion worth a whopping £70m on 'London's £3bn street' in Kensington.

They both add glam to Bernie's already amazing life.

Glam Petra Ecclestone lives in LA

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Silverstone Is Working to Remake Itself

The track’s owners are making moves to bring the circuit into the modern era and make it an attraction beyond racing.

Formula 1 racecars parked at the starting line of a track. Fans are watching from the packed stands.

By Ian Parkes

Twenty-two years ago, Bernie Ecclestone, the former chief executive of Formula 1, described Silverstone as “a country fair masquerading as a world event.”

The home of the British Grand Prix has strikingly altered over two decades. In February, a 10-year contract was signed with Formula 1 that will see the race on the calendar through 2034.

“By the end of that 10 years, I want Silverstone to be recognized as the global home of motor racing, not just the home of British motorsport,” Stuart Pringle, the managing director of Silverstone, said in an interview in March.

Silverstone has diversified its business. It is no longer just a motorsport circuit. In 2011, the Wing, a new pit-and-paddock complex with conference and meeting facilities, opened; eight years later, an interactive museum; a year ago, a hotel that overlooks the start-finish straight welcomed its first visitors. This month, 60 luxury private track-side residences will be available to book. And there are plans to build an international-standard go-kart track.

“If you go back to when things were more financially challenging for Silverstone, much of that challenge was rooted in the fact that whilst we couldn’t make a lot of money out of the Grand Prix previously, we also couldn’t live without it,” Pringle said.

“We recognized it was a certain strength and a weakness, and we needed other strings to our bow. So we set about trying to diversify our business because we’re paying the costs of this enormous overhead.”

The Grand Prix weekend is the beating heart of Silverstone. It has had to move with the times, initiated by the arrival of Liberty Media, which took ownership of Formula 1 in 2017.

Pringle said that Formula 1, under Liberty Media, had been “very different to the previous ownership approach.”

“It’s given a more salable product for promoters like us,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to make our business profitable, to bring it back from the edge, stabilize it and set a new course.

“We’ve had some luck along the way, if you call Liberty’s vision that is ‘Drive to Survive’ luck,” he said, referring to the Netflix series on the sport. “It’s what a commercial rights holder should be doing, seeking to increase the value and awareness of its championship, its product.”

Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time champion, said the British Grand Prix was “an amazing, incredible event.”

“You look at it from a bird’s-eye view, and for the whole event, all the space is used up,” he said. “So many fans come and have a great weekend.”

Looking ahead to the next 10 years, Hamilton of Mercedes said Silverstone had to “watch the ticket prices, as they’re continuing to rise.”

“With the cost of living nowadays, it’s too high,” he said. “I’m thinking from a fan perspective, someone with a family. It’s looking into ways where you can make it more accessible for people.”

For two adults and two children over 11 years old, general admission tickets cost 1,716 pounds, or about $2,160, and tickets for just Sunday’s Grand Prix cost about $1,550.

Pringle said he was mindful of the prices, but racing was only one element of the weekend. Silverstone will become a music festival venue over the four days, with Kings of Leon, Stormzy, Pete Tong and Rudimental playing. It will also feature a comedy club, with Russell Kane, Troy Hawke and Al Murray performing.

Silverstone has to find a way to pay. “We unashamedly want to make the British Grand Prix weekend into the biggest summer festival where it’s a world-class sporting event by day and a world-class music festival by night,” Pringle said. “And we’re well on the way to doing that.”

The best Minor League ballpark promotions happening in July

July 4th has come and gone, but plenty of bang for the buck remains.

Benjamin Hill

Benjamin Hill

Welcome to Promo Preview, a monthly roundup of Minor League Baseball promotions to look forward to. Incendiary Independence Day ballpark spectacles are now in the rearview mirror, but July has plenty more in store. Highlights include meaty aromas, computer-generated jerseys and taking it easy on the water. Jump in.

Pontooners Weekend Great Lakes Loons (High-A LAD), July 11-13

The Midland, Mich.-based Great Lakes Loons live the life aquatic. Saginaw Bay, part of Lake Huron, is nearby, and there are innumerable smaller lakes throughout the area. The team’s new “Pontooners” alternate identity celebrates the pleasure boats that are common on these bodies of water, vessels designed to keep things slow and easy. Pontooners Weekend features pontoon and party barge seating areas, '80s yacht rock dueling pianos and towel and koozie giveaways. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Get tickets »

Supper Clubbers Beloit Sky Carp (High-A MIA), July 12

Beloit’s long-running Midwest League team, formerly known as the Snappers, changed its name to the Sky Carp prior to the 2021 season. One of the other names in the running was Supper Clubbers, an homage to the old school meat-and-potatoes “supper club” dining establishments that are legion in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. The Sky Carp will imagine what could have been when they play as the Supper Clubbers during an evening in which they’ll also offer supper club stalwarts such as relish trays (a pre-meal array of vegetables, crackers and spreads) and old-fashioned cocktails. Get tickets »

Bob Gibson bobblehead giveaway Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple-A KC), July 13

A Bob Gibson statue stands in front of the Storm Chasers’ home of Werner Park, and now the team is giving away a Bob Gibson bobblehead. What would motivate a Kansas City Royals affiliate to honor a St. Louis Cardinals legend? It’s simple: Gibson is an Omaha native and, not only that, pitched for the Triple-A Omaha Cardinals from 1957-59. The Storm Chasers will play as the Omaha Rockets on this evening, honoring a Black semi-pro independent team that operated from 1947-49. Satchel Paige once pitched for the Rockets but, then again, he seemed to have pitched just about everywhere. Get tickets »

Italian Beef Winston-Salem Dash (High-A CWS), July 19

The Dash are honoring their parent club, the Chicago White Sox, by playing as the Italian Beef. It is, after all, the Windy City’s most iconic sandwich. The green, white and red jerseys, resembling the colors of the Italian flag, feature an Italian Beef wordmark that resembles the FDA’s beef inspection stamp. Fans can get their fill of these giardiniera-topped sandwiches during the game, but attempting to eat one every inning is ill-advised. Dash GM Brian DeAngelis attempted to do just that during a game in May and failed. As “punishment” for that transgression, he’ll serve as the team’s batboy during this beefiest of baseball evenings. Get tickets »

Wednesday at Bernie’s with Terry Kiser appearance St. Paul Saints (Triple-A MIN), July 24

Terry Kiser has accumulated hundreds of acting credits over a career that dates back to the '60s, and yet he’s best remembered for playing a dead man. That unfortunate corpse was Bernie Lomax, the titular character of the 1989 comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” (there was also, somehow, a sequel). The Saints, ardent appreciators of the absurd, will pay tribute to this cult classic during a Wednesday evening in which Kiser himself will be in attendance. Bernie lives! Get tickets »

Have the latest news, ticket information, and more from the Pirates and MLB delivered right to your inbox.

Cream Chipped Beef Morning Game Reading Fightin’ Phils (Double-A PHI), July 30

S.O.S.! Some say that stands for “save our stomachs,” while others say it’s an acronym for something more profane. Either way, S.O.S. is synonymous with creamed chipped beef on toast, a WWII-era soldiers meal that is also a longtime staple of Northeastern diner menus. The Fightin Phils pay tribute during their annual morning game, during which they’ll play as the Creamed Chipped Beef. Early risers, or perhaps those who never went to bed, are encouraged to arrive at 9 a.m. for a pregame Brunch Boozefest and an all-you-can-eat buffet sure to feature all the creamed chipped beef one’s heart desires. It’s the breakfast of champions. Get tickets »

Four more upcoming promotions of note, recapped in 26 words or less.

ICYMI: We're giving away a hot dog-scented candle this year. Don't try to eat it. 🌭 The first 1,000 fans 15 and older on July 10 will go home with their own fragrant frankfurter, and you can get your tickets on March 2 at Nutzy's Block Party! ➡️ https://t.co/3xiaOr1nFM pic.twitter.com/YckbvNskoa — Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) February 26, 2024

Hot Dog Scented Candle Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A SF), July 10

Finally, the aroma of the ballpark can be yours to enjoy at home. Strike a match and drift into the processed meat-scented bliss. Get tickets »

Nothing Night Inland Empire 66ers (Single-A LAA), July 10

Ready for a whole lotta nothing? Inland Empire will play a game devoid of extraneous noise and diversions. 66ers tickets »

AI Jerseys Erie SeaWolves (Double-A PIT), July 13

The SeaWolves will play in jerseys designed by AI. One day we will look back and remember the days in which they were designed by humans. Get tickets »

The Fourth of July in July Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Triple-A MIA), July 19

Minor League teams love to celebrate holidays out of season. The Jumbo Shrimp parody that tendency by celebrating July 4th on ... July 19th. Get tickets »

These are the best ballpark promos in July

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Welcome to Promo Preview, a monthly roundup of Minor League Baseball promotions to look forward to. Incendiary Independence Day ballpark spectacles are now in the rearview mirror, but July has plenty more in store. Highlights include meaty aromas, computer-generated jerseys and taking it easy on the water. Jump in.

Pontooners Weekend Great Lakes Loons (High-A LAD), July 11-13

The Midland, Mich.-based Great Lakes Loons live the life aquatic. Saginaw Bay, part of Lake Huron, is nearby, and there are innumerable smaller lakes throughout the area. The team’s new “Pontooners” alternate identity celebrates the pleasure boats that are common on these bodies of water, vessels designed to keep things slow and easy. Pontooners Weekend features pontoon and party barge seating areas, '80s yacht rock dueling pianos and towel and koozie giveaways. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Get tickets »

Supper Clubbers Beloit Sky Carp (High-A MIA), July 12

Beloit’s long-running Midwest League team, formerly known as the Snappers, changed its name to the Sky Carp prior to the 2021 season. One of the other names in the running was Supper Clubbers, an homage to the old school meat-and-potatoes “supper club” dining establishments that are legion in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. The Sky Carp will imagine what could have been when they play as the Supper Clubbers during an evening in which they’ll also offer supper club stalwarts such as relish trays (a pre-meal array of vegetables, crackers and spreads) and old-fashioned cocktails. Get tickets »

Bob Gibson bobblehead giveaway Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple-A KC), July 13

A Bob Gibson statue stands in front of the Storm Chasers’ home of Werner Park, and now the team is giving away a Bob Gibson bobblehead. What would motivate a Kansas City Royals affiliate to honor a St. Louis Cardinals legend? It’s simple: Gibson is an Omaha native and, not only that, pitched for the Triple-A Omaha Cardinals from 1957-59. The Storm Chasers will play as the Omaha Rockets on this evening, honoring a Black semi-pro independent team that operated from 1947-49. Satchel Paige once pitched for the Rockets but, then again, he seemed to have pitched just about everywhere. Get tickets »

Italian Beef Winston-Salem Dash (High-A CWS), July 19

The Dash are honoring their parent club, the Chicago White Sox, by playing as the Italian Beef. It is, after all, the Windy City’s most iconic sandwich. The green, white and red jerseys, resembling the colors of the Italian flag, feature an Italian Beef wordmark that resembles the FDA’s beef inspection stamp. Fans can get their fill of these giardiniera-topped sandwiches during the game, but attempting to eat one every inning is ill-advised. Dash GM Brian DeAngelis attempted to do just that during a game in May and failed. As “punishment” for that transgression, he’ll serve as the team’s batboy during this beefiest of baseball evenings. Get tickets »

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Wednesday at Bernie’s with Terry Kiser appearance St. Paul Saints (Triple-A MIN), July 24

Terry Kiser has accumulated hundreds of acting credits over a career that dates back to the '60s, and yet he’s best remembered for playing a dead man. That unfortunate corpse was Bernie Lomax, the titular character of the 1989 comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” (there was also, somehow, a sequel). The Saints, ardent appreciators of the absurd, will pay tribute to this cult classic during a Wednesday evening in which Kiser himself will be in attendance. Bernie lives! Get tickets »

Cream Chipped Beef Morning Game Reading Fightin’ Phils (Double-A PHI), July 30

S.O.S.! Some say that stands for “save our stomachs,” while others say it’s an acronym for something more profane. Either way, S.O.S. is synonymous with creamed chipped beef on toast, a WWII-era soldiers meal that is also a longtime staple of Northeastern diner menus. The Fightin Phils pay tribute during their annual morning game, during which they’ll play as the Creamed Chipped Beef. Early risers, or perhaps those who never went to bed, are encouraged to arrive at 9 a.m. for a pregame Brunch Boozefest and an all-you-can-eat buffet sure to feature all the creamed chipped beef one’s heart desires. It’s the breakfast of champions. Get tickets »

Four more upcoming promotions of note, recapped in 26 words or less.

ICYMI: We're giving away a hot dog-scented candle this year. Don't try to eat it. 🌭 The first 1,000 fans 15 and older on July 10 will go home with their own fragrant frankfurter, and you can get your tickets on March 2 at Nutzy's Block Party! ➡️ https://t.co/3xiaOr1nFM pic.twitter.com/YckbvNskoa — Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) February 26, 2024

Hot Dog Scented Candle Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A SF), July 10

Finally, the aroma of the ballpark can be yours to enjoy at home. Strike a match and drift into the processed meat-scented bliss. Get tickets »

Nothing Night Inland Empire 66ers (Single-A LAA), July 10

Ready for a whole lotta nothing? Inland Empire will play a game devoid of extraneous noise and diversions. 66ers tickets »

AI Jerseys Erie SeaWolves (Double-A PIT), July 13

The SeaWolves will play in jerseys designed by AI. One day we will look back and remember the days in which they were designed by humans. Get tickets »

The Fourth of July in July Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Triple-A MIA), July 19

Minor League teams love to celebrate holidays out of season. The Jumbo Shrimp parody that tendency by celebrating July 4th on ... July 19th. Get tickets »

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog . Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz .

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Bernie Madoff, despite so many ‘final words,’ remains inscrutable

Author Richard Behar probes the mind of America’s most notorious financial fraudster and considers a personal connection to the long con.

bernie ecclestone new yacht

During one of the darkest weeks in the history of Wall Street, the globe-trotting financial investigative journalist Richard Behar got a call from his cousin.

It was about Aunt Adele.

Anything to do with his 80-year-old aunt meant a lot to Behar. She’d been almost like a surrogate mother to him in those years after his parents, who had struggled to make a home for him, placed him in foster care on Long Island.

Into his 40s, Behar had periodically benefited from the largesse of his multimillionaire aunt, who he’d esteemed as a savvy investor. Now, as he learned from his cousin, she’d gone bust. She’d been scammed, like thousands of others, by a man who had been arrested in December 2008 but Behar had not heard of until then: Bernie Madoff.

His cousin’s call the day after Madoff’s arrest set Behar on a decade-and-a-half-long quest — both before and after Madoff’s death in 2021 . His search for answers about the notorious architect of a $68 billion Ponzi scheme became a sort of Bernie and Me saga that spanned dozens of phone conversations stretched over nearly 10 years beginning in 2011; hundreds of emails; and multiple visits to the North Carolina prison where Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence.

Their conversations and voluminous written correspondence form the basis of Behar’s first book, “ Madoff: The Final Word ,” which Avid Reader Press will publish Tuesday. It is a deeply reported and occasionally overwhelmingly detailed examination of Madoff’s motives and methods that includes fresh insights from FBI agents and former prosecutors who sought to bring the fraudster to justice.

The Bernie Madoff who emerges from Behar’s extraordinary access and hours of phone calls is not just vain and delusional, but also a profane, tiresome, self-absorbed bore, endlessly droning on about his legacy, casting blame on others and pumping up a set of laughably dubious accomplishments.

Over a recent lunch in Midtown Manhattan, Behar recounted his growing annoyance as the years went along whenever Madoff called: “Why always on a Friday? I’m not in the mood. Towards the end of our 10-year relationship, I wouldn’t even answer.”

Before Madoff’s death in prison, at 82, Behar came to think of his years of listening to Madoff’s “bunkum,” as he calls it, as a kind of prison sentence, metaphorically akin to the term being served by his subject.

“This book marks my escape,” Behar writes. “At least one of us made it out.”

Behar — a contributing editor at Forbes who previously served on the staffs of Fortune and Time — was accustomed to exploring man’s worst impulses. He’d profiled another decade’s Ponzi schemer, Dennis Helliwell ; chased terrorists in Pakistan; and probed the dealings of Russian organized-crime figures and New York mafiosos. (He lamented taking me to a less-than-atmospheric Midtown restaurant instead of a “mob hangout” Italian joint he frequents that he said would have been more on-brand.)

Behar writes that Madoff was a “financial cannibal” and a “pathological liar.” But in their talks, the two men sometimes found common ground, including their opinion that Madoff’s sentence after pleading guilty to 11 felony charges, including securities fraud and money laundering, was overly harsh.

“What was surprising was that I found myself agreeing with him,” Behar writes. “He hadn’t killed anyone.”

They were most in sync when it came to their take on the clients who had reaped suspiciously hefty returns from their Madoff investments before the Ponzi scheme collapsed.

Behar read aloud to me one snippet from his conversations with Madoff that he considers particularly convincing: “Quite frankly,” Madoff said, “one thing I’ve been convinced of is that everybody has a very selective memory. Everybody just only wants to think about what I did to them. No one wants to take any blame that their greed contributed to this.”

Behar, a 63-year-old with a thick head of curly white hair that juts high off his forehead, paused for a moment to let Madoff’s words sink in.

“He has a point,” he said.

Behar, refreshingly, turns out to be a bit of a contrarian, questioning some of the received wisdom about the case and, at the very least, prompting us to consider whether a story prone to reductionism is more nuanced than we thought — whether we buy his arguments or not.

That New York magazine cover calling Madoff a “monster” and portraying him as a grinning villain straight out of a Batman movie? Madoff didn’t necessarily deserve to become the “human face of the entire financial crisis,” Behar writes, at a time when the country was convulsing from the subprime-mortgage meltdown.

The idea that the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped the ball by not catching on to Madoff? Behar and Madoff share the view that the regulators “had been blamed unfairly.” Behar notes that the agency is chronically understaffed and flooded with more tips than it can handle; he also takes the position — sure to be controversial — that the widely referenced narrative of the SEC ignoring complaints about Madoff from a whistleblower is oversimplified.

As he was about to begin investigating Madoff, Behar figured he should also investigate himself. Shortly after Madoff’s arrest, Behar did a Google search about a financial adviser who manages a retirement account for him. It took only a few minutes to discover that the man had a financial felony on his record from many years earlier, Behar told me, recounting an anecdote that is not in his book. Behar called the adviser, talked it through and decided to stick with him.

Behar initially reached out to Madoff in 2009, a few months after the admitted fraudster’s arrest. But he didn’t hear back until two years later. When they first met in 2011 at the federal prison in Butner, N.C., Behar got a glimpse of the “special power” that allowed Madoff to seduce investors.

“Bernie’s hands were soft,” Behar writes. “His face betrayed no sign of the carnage he’d left behind. I felt the sudden urge to hug and comfort him.”

As time went along, Behar concluded that Madoff was lying about matters both large and small. Ever the grifter, Madoff sometimes poor-mouthed Behar into paying for his email access and vending machine snacks, even though he had a well-funded prison bank account.

In prison, Madoff — who’d once luxuriated on an 88-foot yacht named “Bull” equipped with a buoy called “Bullship” — worked in the kitchen. He sun-tanned in the prison yard and hung out with the mafia bosses Carmine Persico and Nicky Scarfo, fellow inmates whom he described to Behar as “terrific guys.” Amusingly, in light of Madoff’s serial deceptions, he didn’t care for another inmate, the spy Jonathan Pollard, because he considered him a “phony.”

Madoff nicknamed himself “the Wizard of Wall Street,” and other examples of his self-aggrandizement included boasting about banking executives who prostrated themselves before him as he funneled billions through a Chase account.

“They just wanted to kiss the ring,” he said.

Madoff stuck to his story that his wife, Ruth, and his sons, Mark and Andrew, weren’t involved in the Ponzi scheme.

“After a while, you start [lying to] yourself to believe what you want to believe. ‘I’m gonna get out of this mess,’” he told Behar. “And then you just block it out of your mind. I was going nuts. Sixteen years of doing this [scheme]. Not telling your wife and sons. I don’t know how I stood the stress. There must be something wrong with me to be able to handle the pressure.”

Even after 15 years obsessing over the case, Behar can’t say for sure what was wrong with Madoff. It’s laudable that he doesn’t speculate or jump to conclusions, as others have. Still, I craved a straightforward answer to that question from this seasoned financial reporter. I was left with the feeling that if Behar can’t say for sure, perhaps we’ll never know.

However, Behar does present enough nuggets of information to raise some eyebrows about Ruth and her sons: She “lied like a mobster” in a “60 Minutes” interview, saying she hadn’t been a bookkeeper for her husband’s business since the 1960s when, in fact, there were financial documents, some with her handwriting on them, that show she maintained bank accounts related to the Ponzi scheme. The sons participated in “a massive document-shredding party” to destroy evidence sought by the SEC and were well-educated professional traders who got rich off the proceeds from the Ponzi scheme, even though they worked in a separate part of the business.

“They most certainly should have known about a lot of wrongdoing,” Behar writes.

(Behar writes that Ruth Madoff now resides in an assisted-living facility; Mark Madoff took his own life in 2010 on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest; Andrew Madoff died from cancer in 2014. None of them were ever charged.)

As news was breaking about Madoff’s history-making crimes, Behar’s Aunt Adele remained remarkably circumspect. Her $6 million account was a worthless illusion, as were the accounts that had supposedly grown to $10 million that she’d set up for friends and her children.

Still, Adele, who died in 2016 at age 88, called Madoff “My Little Gonif,” invoking a Yiddish word.

“A gonif steals someone’s lollypop but does it cutely,” she explained to her nephew. “Richard, it’s only money, a false measurement of something.”

It dawned on Behar that Madoff was responsible for money he’d received over the years from his aunt — $20,000 for a down payment on an apartment he bought in the early 1990s and $4,000 years later for furniture. Shortly before Madoff’s arrest, Adele also gave her nephew money to cover his medical expenses after he was afflicted by a life-threatening parasite while reporting a magazine story in Africa.

“Parasite Bernie helped get rid of my African parasite,” Behar writes.

I asked Behar whether he felt any guilt or remorse about benefiting financially from ill-gotten gains. An editor had once quipped that Behar “has never learned a fact that he hasn’t had to stew on for a month.” Contemplating my question, he started to knead his forehead and run through a logic chain — almost as if I weren’t sitting there beside him.

“I had tainted money that benefited me.”

“I should do something.”

“I don’t know what.”

“I should make some donations.”

“I have to give this some thought.”

“I had no control over the situation, but there’s no question I was gifted tainted money.”

“This didn’t occur to me in that way.”

Two days later he texted me to say that he wanted to talk some more and that he’d been mulling the subject of “complicity (personal and societal) in the worst aspects of the financial system.”

Receiving money — even unknowingly — that was the fruit of a crime was not congruent with the way he lived his life and conducted his career, he said. The kernel of an idea was forming in his head to volunteer to teach financial literacy classes to school kids — maybe he could impart some wisdom that would help them.

But what he won’t be able to do is ever fully explain the man who set in motion a chain of events that destroyed the finances of thousands and even prompted him to wrestle with something as innocuous as a gift from a loving aunt.

Despite all the time that Behar and the Ponzi mastermind spent communicating with each other, Madoff remained an enigma. In a sense, Madoff is still pulling a fast one on us all.

“There may never be a final word,” Behar writes, “on what made Bernie Bernie .”

Manuel Roig-Franzia is a Washington Post staff writer and a former bureau chief for The Post in Miami and Mexico City.

The Final Word

By Richard Behar

Avid Reader. 357 pp. $35

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