Former German tennis player Boris Becker was sentenced on Friday April 29 to two and a half years in prison by British justice on four counts related to his personal bankruptcy. Aged 54, he will be imprisoned after being found guilty on April 8 of having hidden 2.5 million pounds sterling (3 million euros) in assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.
The six-time Grand Slam winner, declared bankrupt in 2017, faced up to seven years in prison for each of the offenses found against him by the popular jury at Southwark Crown Court, London: one count of “removal of property two of “non-disclosure of assets” and one of “concealment of debt”.
Boris Becker has lived in the United Kingdom since 2012. He is accused of having transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling from a professional account to other accounts, in particular of his former wives, of not having declared a property in Germany and hiding a loan of 825,000 euros and shares in a company. Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley had accused him of using a professional account as a ” piggy bank ” for day-to-day expenses or school fees for their children.
Boris Becker, who disputes all the charges, was acquitted of twenty other counts, including those relating to the disappearance of his trophies. During the hearing, he assured that he did not know where they were.
Up to £50m in debt
Among the nine accolades creditors would have liked to get their hands on are two of his three Wimbledon cups, two Australian Open trophies and his doubles gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. 1 mondial said, during the trial which was held from March 21 to April 8, to still have in his possession ” a lot ” of awards and memories amassed in fifteen years on the circuit, but some have disappeared. He had already sold part of his awards at auction for 700,000 pounds (835,000 euros) in order to pay off part of his debts.
At the time of his bankruptcy, the player’s debts were estimated at up to 50 million pounds sterling (59.5 million euros).
The announcement of his bankruptcy came a few days before the Wimbledon tournament, on which the former tennis player was working for the BBC and Australian and Japanese television. At the hearing, he had told how much he had been “shocked by the situation”. “It was all over the news, I walked through the gates of Wimbledon and everyone knew. I was embarrassed because I was bankrupt”, he said. According to him, his bankruptcy and the treatment that was made of it in the media undermined the “Becker brand”so much so that he then had difficulty repaying his debts.
The former tennis player has already had legal setbacks for unpaid debts with Spanish justice, concerning work in his villa in Mallorca, and with Swiss justice, for not having paid the pastor who married him in 2009 In 2002, the German courts sentenced him to a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 euros for some 1.7 million euros in tax arrears.
Accused by the British justice, he had tried in 2018 a final gamble, claiming to have been appointed by the Central African president ” attached ” to the European Union (EU) for the cultural, sporting and humanitarian affairs of this country. His lawyer had argued that his role granted him diplomatic immunity preventing him from being sued for the payment of other debts, before renouncing this claim.