Socialite James Stunt sensationally addressed the size of his genitals and insisted ‘I don’t think we need to get the microscope out’ while giving evidence for the first time as part of an alleged £266million money laundering scheme.
The 40-year-old, who is one of eight defendants on trial accused of overseeing an alleged network that saw millions of pounds deposited in a Bradford-based gold dealer, said that despite coming across as a ‘glammy moron’ he also had a ‘hyperintelligent’ understanding of business.
Stunt, who was married to F1 heiress Petra Ecclestone before the couple’s explosive £5.5billion divorce in 2017, admitted to jurors at Leeds Cloth Hall Court how he ‘played up’ to his image and enjoyed ‘living it up’.
‘Having your life laid bare like this, we have to examine the good, the bad and the ugly, and I do play up to the public image sometimes, but there’s also insecurity’, he told the court.
‘People say about me “you must have the smallest penis in the world” and there must be some truth in that, metaphorically speaking – but I don’t think we need to get a microscope out.’
Prosecutors claim Stunt may have been involved in the alleged money laundering scheme because the breakdown of his marriage to Ms Ecclestone meant the ‘river of money’ from her motorsport family was ‘running dry’.
But Stunt hit back, denying he was a ‘kept man’ during the couple’s marriage as he admitted: ‘I had a very rich wife and I was doing all right myself’.
Stunt told jurors the ‘controlling’ Ecclestone family kept a tight leash over his marriage and that his and Petra’s three children ‘had to be born in the UK for tax reasons’.
Prosecutors say ‘criminal cash’ was brought from all over the country to Fowler Oldfield’s premises in Bradford, West Yorkshire, before the scheme ‘went national’ and Stunt’s offices in London also started receiving money.
Stunt and seven other defendants have all denied allegations of money laundering.
Socialite James Stunt sensationally addressed the size of his genitalia while giving evidence for the first time today as part of an alleged £266million money laundering scheme
Stunt, who was married to F1 heiress Petra Ecclestone before the couple’s explosive £5.5billion divorce in 2017, admitted to jurors how he ‘played up’ to his image and enjoyed ‘living it up’
Socialite James Stunt claims Bernie Ecclestone kept a close eye on his marriage to F1 heiress Petra – but denies he was a ‘kept man’ as he insists: ‘I loved my ex-wife, not her bank account’
Socialite James Stunt today told a Leeds court how he was ‘not a kept man’, despite his ex-wife’s enormous wealth. ‘I loved my ex-wife but I wasn’t in love with her bank account’, he insisted.
‘I did not live off my wife – she lived with me and I felt very uncomfortable living in a home which was not owned by me or my family, maybe that sounds old-fashioned, I don’t know.
‘Miss Ecclestone lived with me, she owned a large house in Chelsea and a gigantic house in Beverly Hills as well.
‘I was not a kept man but I had a very rich wife and I was doing very well myself.
‘I don’t compare myself to Bernie Ecclestone, he’s 92 and one of the richest men in the world.’
He spoke of a family trust fund set up by the Ecclestone family and added ‘that’s the kind of control Bernie Ecclestone had over my marriage.
‘Her [Petra’s] family were very controlling of my marriage, let’s just leave it at that.’
Stunt became agitated as he spoke of his public image and accused the media of ‘gaslighting’ him.
‘I’m nothing like the man you see portrayed.
‘What I see in the press is a berk, a pratt, I’d like to punch him, then I think ‘Oh my god, it’s me’.
Asked by his barrister Richard Fisher KC whether he had ever sought attention, Stunt told the court: ‘I’m not a Kardashian, I’ve never done anything to achieve fame.
‘Wow, I have some money, I married a famous man’s daughter. That wasn’t what I wanted, I loved my wife , I didn’t love her bank account.’
He agreed that he was ‘ostentatious but said there was never any maliciousness behind it before adding: ‘I am a giver, not a receiver. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, if you haven’t, well, you can always make more.’
Stunt also said he was very proud of his surname, referencing his grandfather who he said served as a colonel in the Second World War.
‘That’s why every car I have has STUNT on the personalised number plate’, he told the court.
He added: ‘I wanted to develop a positive brand around my name, so I used my surname in the names of my companies.
‘The press have decided to use a different term with a C, which rhymes with a profanity for my surname.’
He added: ‘Even though I may come across as a glammy moron at times, I’m hyperintelligent on certain aspects of business.’
Stunt also spoke of a family trust fund set up by the Ecclestone family and added ‘that’s the kind of control Bernie Ecclestone had over my marriage’. Stunt has denied the allegations of money laundering and forgery.
He recalled a panic attack at the Monza Grand Prix when his then father-in-law Bernie Ecclestone told him ‘James, you’re having a panic attack.
‘I didn’t know what was happening, and neither did my wife,’ he said. ‘And the Grand Prix doctor just shoved an injection into me.’
He said following his brother’s death he took cocaine ‘every day for two years’ and described the drug as a ‘good, bad friend’.
But he said for the last two years, he had been ‘clean’ and said he took regular urine tests with a doctor ‘for the sake of my children’.
Stunt also claimed that at one stage of his life he was the ‘second biggest gambler in the world’, risking up to £5 million in an evening and losing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
He added he was ‘awful with dates and terrible with numbers’ and suffers from ADHD, dyscalcula and dyslexia, and takes Ritalin for the ADHD.
He told the court ‘I am not a glib, arrogant man’ and said that he used humour as a ‘coping mechanism’ to avoid getting angry ‘after hearing some of the slanderous things said in this court about my brother’.
On more than one occasion, Stunt told the court: ‘I’m not a name-dropper’.
He then proceeded to mention members of the Saudi, Bahraini and Omani royal families that he knew, and gave a long list of the charitable donations he has made over the years, including to the Aids Foundation of Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish, who Stunt described as ‘good friends’.
Stunt became agitated as he defended his public image and accused the media of ‘gaslighting’ him – comparing his portrayal to that of tragic Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, who committed suicide in February 2020.
He said: ‘I’m nothing like the man you see portrayed. What I see in the press is a berk, a pratt, I’d like to punch him, then I think “Oh my god, it’s me”.’
The court had heard that Stunt took ‘a very hands-on approach’ as his company became involved in the ‘sophisticated’ £266million money-laundering operation, prosecutors.
Leeds Cloth Hall Court previously heard that hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time was brought in carrier bags and holdalls to Fowler Oldfield in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Prosecutor Nicholas Clarke KC has said the defendants hid the origin of the money by washing it through a company bank account and using the proceeds to buy gold.
On Wednesday jurors were shown messages between Stunt’s employees and co-defendants Alex Tulloch and Francesca Sota, and staff at Fowler Oldfield. The court heard one message from Tulloch in November 2015 said: ‘James not happy though… James wants to know what his profit is for this week. Concerned about profitability etc.’
The court was told another message from Tulloch in April 2016, when Stunt was living out of the country, said: ‘Ensure that I get updated at least daily on £ in London and Bradford. Gold sold: Lock ins (Scotia), Cookson’s, Dubai. Refining: Any material coming out of the refinery.’
Mr Clarke said this showed Stunt was ‘taking a very hands-on approach even though he was a very long way away at the time’.
He said that Stunt was the owner and director of Stunt & Co but ‘delegated much of the responsibility to others’.
The prosecutor told the court: ‘He was not involved in the day-to-day management of the buying and selling of gold and was not included in most of the correspondence via electronic means.
‘However, emails between others demonstrate that he was very much aware of and authorised what was going on.’
Jurors were told the alleged money laundering then ‘went national’ as one of Fowler Oldfield’s directors, Greg Frankel, became a vice president of Stunt & Co, and Stunt’s premises in London also started receiving cash.
Five defendants from Fowler Oldfield – Greg Frankel, Daniel Rawson, Paul Miller, Heidi Buckler and Haroon ‘Harry’ Rashid – all say the prosecution cannot prove that any of the cash was criminal property.
Stunt and the defendants from his company – Tulloch and Sota – say they ‘don’t know whether it was’, the court has heard.
Bankrupt former millionaire James Stunt, 40, is being tried with seven others for hiding £266m in funds at a gold dealer
Stunt also spoke of a family trust fund set up by the Ecclestone family and added ‘that’s the kind of control Bernie Ecclestone had over my marriage’. Stunt has denied the allegations of money laundering and forgery
James Stunt is pictured standing next to Helena Robinson outside Leeds Cloth Hall Court in May earlier this year
But prosecutors say it is ‘blindingly obvious this was criminal cash’ and each of the defendants ‘must at the very least have suspected that the source of the money was criminal in origin’.
Jurors were told West Yorkshire Police launched Operation Larkshot to investigate large amounts of cash being credited to the bank account of Fowler Oldfield and collected from three sites – Fowler Oldfield’s own premises, the offices of James Stunt in central London and a new company called Pure Nines in Hatton Garden.
Mr Clarke said substantial amounts of cash were being paid into a bank account of Fowler Oldfield Limited from 2014.
He told jurors they aroused the suspicions of bank staff because ‘they were of such an amount, on a daily basis, as may come from a Premier League football stadium on a match day or similar size venue or event’.
The wider investigation discovered that from January 1, 2014 until September 16, 2016, more than £266million in cash and unknown deposits were paid into the Fowler Oldfield bank account, the court heard.
Buckler, 45, Frankel, 44, Miller, 45, Rashid, 51, Rawson, 45, Sota, 34, Stunt, 40 and Tulloch, 41, all deny money laundering. Stunt and Sota also deny forgery.
The trial continues.