Billionaire motorsport icon Bernie Ecclestone has been arrested in Brazil for an illegal gun offence while trying to board a private plane to Switzerland.
Brazilian police say they found an undocumented LW Seecamp .32 gun in the former Formula One supremo's luggage during an X-ray screening.
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The 91-year-old was then arrested and taken to a facility at Viracopos airport in Campinas, northwest of São Paulo.
Ecclestone admitted that the weapon did belong to him, but said he was unaware it was in his luggage at the time.
He said he bought the gun from an F1 mechanic around five years ago and kept it at his farm.
The Briton paid bail which equated to around $1800 AUD, before being free to travel to Switzerland, as originally intended.
Asked about Ecclestone's arrest, the Sao Paulo state public security office confirmed that a businessman was arrested for possession of a firearm at the airport, but did not name him.
The office said the "small, silver coloured pistol" was out of ammunition and that the arrestee had to pay 6,060 reais ($1800) as bail. The handgun was seized, it added.
Ecclestone was not immediately available for comment.
Bernie Ecclestone frequently flies to wife's Brazilian homeland
He is married to Brazilian-born Fabiana Ecclestone, an FIA vice-president and member of the World Motor Sport Council.
They 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 triple world champion Nelson Piquet in Brasilia.
The Ecclestones own a coffee plantation near Sao Paulo, which they bought in 2012 and where they regularly spend time when not in Europe.
Piquet drove for Brabham when it was owned by Ecclestone in the 1970s and 80s.
For decades Ecclestone was Mr Formula One, the man who did the deals, turned the wheels and transformed the sport into today's billion dollar business.
He was moved aside in 2017 when US-based Liberty Media took control of the commercial rights.
Ecclestone became a father for the fourth time in 2020 when he and his wife welcomed a baby boy named Ace into the world.
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