Tennis legend Boris Becker was sentenced to two 1/2 years behind bars in England Friday for blurting the terms of his bankruptcy.
The 54-year-old former champion was found guilty of refusing to disclose his assets and illegally transferring large sums of money after declaring bankruptcy in 2017, Judge Deborah Taylor said in Southwark Crown Court.
The former world No. 1 broke the parameters of his bankruptcy last month by moving millions of thousands of British pounds from his business account, along with hiding property in his hometown of Leimen, Germany.
Becker—who has won three Wimbledon Championships, two Australian Opens and one US Open—was also convicted of refusing to disclose a bank loan of more than $870,000 along with 75,000 shares in the tech firm Breaking Data Corp.
Becker faced up to seven years in prison for violating the UK’s Insolvency Act, which holds people and corporations responsible for the debts they claim.
But his lawyer, Jonathan Laidlaw, pleaded with the court to show leniency to the German tennis star, saying he’s already penniless.
“This defendant has now lost literally everything. He has already paid an extremely heavy price for his mishandling of his financial affairs but also as a result of his offending, he will lose any interest in any other property or assets he has,” he said.
“Boris Becker has literally nothing and there is also nothing to show for the most glittering of sporting careers. That is nothing short of tragedy,” he said.
“It is not only a fall from grace, but the most public of humiliations of this manner. His degree of suffering – and it will continue – is punishment no other bankrupt in this country is ever likely to experience,” Laidlaw said.
“He does not have a future. These proceedings have destroyed his career, they have destroyed any future prospect of him earning an income. He will not be able to find work and he will have to rely on the charity of others if he is to survive.”
Becker, wore a striped tie with Wimbledon colors in court, also pled his case to the jurors with the sad story of his marriage’s downfall.
He claimed that the $50 million he had won during his illustrious tennis career had all gone to his pricey divorce to first wife Barbara Becker, child support and the expensive nature of his lifestyle.
During the sentencing, the former tennis star’s girlfriend, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro and his eldest son, Noah Becker, sat in the courtroom.
Dozens of fans and members of the media waited outside Southwark Crown Court and, outside, some of his supporters led chants to the tune of “free Boris Becker!”
Previously, a jury convicted him of transferring $450,000 to nine different accounts, including ones belonging to Barbara and estranged wife, Lilly Becker.
The jury acquitted him of an additional 20 counts, including charges that he refused to give up his Wimbledon trophies and his Olympic gold medal.