Police in Brazil arrested former Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday after a handgun was discovered in his luggage at an airport at Viracopos in Campinas.
Ecclestone was about to board a private jet on a flight to Switzerland when an unloaded 32-caliber LW Seecamp pistol was discovered during x-ray screening at the security gate at 9:30pm on Wednesday night. He was not carrying any ammunition.
Ecclestone, 91, was arrested and detained at a Police facility at the airport before being bailed after paying R$6,060 ($1,266), according to a statement from Policia Civil. He then flew to Switzerland after being released.
It's reported locally that Ecclestone admitted owning the gun, which he keeps on his farm in Brazil, but was unaware of its presence in his luggage ahead of the flight and didn't have the requisite documentation for it.
Ecclestone has appeared at several motor racing events in Brazil this month with his wife Fabiana, who is an FIA vice president and a member of the World Motor Sport Council. After attending the Truck Cup and TCR South America events at Interlagos, he visited the Brazilian Stock Car Pro Series round at Velo Citta.
He also recently met Nelson Piquet in Brasilia, who won two Formula 1 World Championships for Ecclestone when he owned the Brabham team, at the start of work on a new racetrack that is being built and is named after Piquet.
Ecclestone has been involved in motorsport since 1949, first as a driver, then a manager, team owner and the commercial boss of F1. He bought Brabham in 1971 and won multiple championships before selling it for over $5million to Joachim Luhti in 1988.
In 1974, he formed the Formula One Constructors' Association with five other team bosses, and he later became the sport's commercial rights holder. Under his leadership, F1's TV rights exploded in value under the terms of the Concorde Agreement.
He ran the sport as chief executive of Formula One Group until 2017, when it was taken over by Liberty Media. Forbes magazine estimates Ecclestone's net worth at over $3billion.