Art market

Gold tycoon and art collector James Stunt charged with money laundering and forgery

The former husband of heiress Petra Ecclestone denies any criminality and says he will contest all charges

James Stunt, charged with money laundering and forgery © Rex Shutterstock/Georgie Gillard

The former gold bullion trader and art collector James Stunt has been charged with money laundering and forgery following an investigation by West Yorkshire Police, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

A spokesman for the CPS declined to give any further details of the charges, noting that “a court date has been arranged for 9 July at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. Requisitions will be issued in the next seven days”.

Stunt, who was previously married to Petra Ecclestone, the heiress daughter to Formula 1 billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, took to social media to defend himself, describing the charges as the “biggest miscarriage of justice”. He adds: “Forgery FYI is my PA with my permission using my signature on my own cheque on my own personal account lmao…”

Fiona Gavriel, a partner at Janes Solicitors, says: “Our client strenuously denies any criminality and will be contesting all charges. Further, for the avoidance of doubt, the forgery charge does not relate to art work of any description.”

Having had his assets frozen in 2018, Stunt was declared bankrupt in a London court last June, with debts of more than £5m. In March this year, his £11m luxury cottage in Belgravia, central London, was repossessed along with two other flats, each worth £5m.