Flavio Briatore’s superyacht impounded by police

62-metre Force Blue seized over unpaid tax bill alleged to be in the region of £3.5m

The 62-metre superyacht owned by Flavio Briatore, former Formula One boss and part owner of Queens Park Rangers football club, has been impounded by Italian police over unpaid taxes.

Armed police stormed the former ice-breaker, Force Blue, last week while Briatore’s wife, the Wonderbra model Elisabetta Gregoraci, was on board with the couple’s two-month-old son. Briatore himself was not reported to have been on board.

Footage of the armed boarding near Genoa has surfaced on YouTube after being released by Italian police, showing the interior of the boat, which is said to cost £215,000 a week to charter in the high season.

Investigators believe Briatore could owe as much as £3.5m in unpaid taxes, and have alleged that he broke the law by not paying VAT on fuel taken on in EU waters.

Briatore was handed a lifetime ban – later overturned – from Formula One last year after he was found guilty of ordering driver Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash at the Singapore Grand Prix, and in 2007 he organised a £14m takeover of QPR with Bernie Ecclestone and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.