Tennis: Boris Becker sentenced to two and a half years in prison

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The former star player will be imprisoned, sentenced for fraud related to his personal bankruptcy.

The former world No.1 in tennis Boris Becker was sentenced this Friday, April 29 to two and a half years in prison by British justice for financial offenses related to his personal bankruptcy. Aged 54, Boris Becker will be imprisoned after being found guilty in particular of having hidden 2.5 million pounds sterling (3 million euros at the current rate) in assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.

Declared in personal bankruptcy in 2017, Boris Becker is convicted of four counts: one count of withdrawal of property, two of non-disclosure of property and one of concealment of debt.

“Piggy bank”

The six-time Grand Slam winner, who has lived in the UK since 2012, was found guilty on April 8 by London’s Southwark Crown Court of concealing or illicitly transferring hundreds of thousands of euros and pounds sterling for not settling his debts after being declared bankrupt. He is notably accused of having transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling from a professional account to other accounts, in particular those of his ex-wives, of not having declared property in Germany and of having hidden a loan. of €825,000 and shares in a company.

Boris Becker arrived this Friday morning in a London taxi at the court, walking hand in hand with his companion Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, before returning to the building. Serious-faced, he wore a purple and green tie, the colors of Wimbledon, while his eldest son, Noah, 28, entered with a sports bag.

Twenty years ago, he was given a suspended prison sentence in Germany after a dispute with the tax authorities. During the trial in London, prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley accused him of using a professional account as a “piggy bank” for daily expenses or school fees for his children.

Bankruptcy and embarrassment

Boris Becker, who disputes all the charges, was acquitted of twenty other counts, including those relating to the disappearance of his trophies. He had assured the hearing that he did not know where they were.

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 at the 1992 Olympics.

The former tennis star said during the trial, which was held from March 21 to April 8, that he still has “many” of the awards and memories he collected in 15 years on the circuit, but some have disappeared. He had already auctioned off some of his awards for 700,000 pounds (€840,000) to pay off some of his debts.

At the time of his bankruptcy, his debts were estimated at up to 50 million pounds sterling (59 million euros).

Tarnished “Becker brand”

The announcement of his bankruptcy came a few days before the Wimbledon tournament, on which the first German player to have won a Grand Slam title 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 his treatment in the media damaged the “Becker brand”, so much so that he then had difficulty repaying his debts. This case is not the first for Boris Becker, a restless sportsman, who had lived in Monaco and Switzerland before settling in England.

He has already had legal setbacks for unpaid debts with Spanish justice, concerning work in his villa in Majorca, and with Swiss justice, for not having paid the pastor who had married him in 2009. In 2002, the German justice had sentenced him to two years in prison suspended as well as a 500,000 € fine for some 1.7 million euros in tax arrears.

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