Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been arrested in Brazil for illegally carrying a gun while boarding a plane.
Ecclestone was getting a flight to Switzerland, and while going through airport security, they found in his bag an LW Seecamp.32 gun that he had accidentally packed into his luggage.
The 91-year-old got the gun in 2016 when his mother-in-law, Aparecida Schunck, was kidnapped in Brazil.
Ecclestone was arrested and taken to a private room so that officers could ascertain why he had a gun in his bag, and he eventually paid his bail of 6,000 Real, which is around £995.
The Briton explained that he used the gun to scare people around the house, and packed it by mistake before trying to leave for Switzerland.
“I’d bought the gun from a friend about five years ago. He told me: ‘You’ve been living in Brazil for quite some time now and it’s a bloody dangerous country. Pull this out and frighten someone if they try anything,’” Ecclestone told the Daily Mail.
“My mother-in-law was kidnapped a year or so before, so I was perhaps a little more vigilant.
“But to be honest, it’s such a small gun it wouldn’t do any damage to anyone who wanted to do me any harm or kidnap me. It’s the sort of gun a woman would keep in her handbag.
“I’ve only ever used it to play jokes on people and that is what I was doing with it a few days ago, walking around the house with it, jumping out on people and larking around.
Ecclestone confirmed that he has “not been charged” with a criminal offence by police at this time.
Ecclestone became chief executive of the Formula One Constructors’ Association [FOCA] in 1978 while still owning the Brabham team, which he sold in 1988.
He remained in charge of F1 until 2016 when he was replaced by current owners of the sport, Liberty Media.