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Bernie's nice little earner

BERNIE ECCLESTONE is filthy rich - and it's official! The F1 boss has always been very coy about his income and usually managed to avoid having his name in lists of Britain's wealthy. However, the Labor Research Department has revealed that Bernie was top of the list of British wage-earners last year.

Bernie was paid nearly $46 million (40% tax, 15% national insurance) by his private company Formula 1 Promotions and Administration. Poor rock star Phil Collins was struggling in second place with a paltry $35 million and Elton John could only rustle up $29 million. Bernie is also the single largest contributor to the National Insurance system.

Ecclestone, who has been known to spend 10 million at the drop of a hat, gets most of his money from FOPA, which is employed by the Formula One Constructors Association (the company which is owned by the F1 teams but is headed by Bernie) to deal with the vast television deals around the world. FOPA was set up because FOCA did not want to take the risk of legal action if things go wrong with Grand Prix transmissions and, for a suitable "service charge," FOPA takes the risks and makes money for FOCA. FOCA then splits its income between the various teams and the FIA, which owns the TV rights but has sub-contracted their exploitation to FOCA. Confused?

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