Boris Becker faces jail after guilty verdicts


The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, was found guilty of transferring huge sums of money from his business account, failing to declare ownership in Germany and concealing 825,000 euros (866,500 $) of debt and stock in a technology company.

FILE: Former tennis player Boris Becker shelters from the rain under an umbrella as he arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on April 6, 2022, as his trial on charges relating to his bankruptcy continues . Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP

LONDON — Former tennis star Boris Becker will learn on Friday whether he faces a lengthy prison sentence after being found guilty in a British court of charges relating to his 2017 bankruptcy.

The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, was found guilty of transferring huge sums of money from his business account, failing to declare ownership in Germany and concealing 825,000 euros (866,500 $) of debt and stock in a technology company.

But he was acquitted at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month on 20 other charges, including nine counts of failing to hand over the trophies and medals he won during his distinguished career as tennis.

He told jurors he did not know where the memorabilia was, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies.

Judge Deborah Taylor released Becker – who won Wimbledon as an unseeded teenager – on conditional bail ahead of Friday’s sentencing hearing at the South London Court.

The former world number one told the jury how his $50 million ($40 million) in career earnings had been swallowed up by a costly divorce from first wife Barbara Becker, child support payments and “commitments of expensive lifestyle”.

Becker said he was “shocked” and “embarrassed” when he was declared bankrupt in June 2017 over an unpaid loan of over £3million on his property in Mallorca, Spain.

The German, who has lived in Britain since 2012, said he cooperated with trustees trying to secure his assets, even offering his wedding ring, and relied on advisers managing his life away from tennis.

But the former player, who was supported in court by his girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro and his eldest son Noah, was found guilty of four counts under insolvency law.

‘A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER’

Giving evidence, Becker said he had earned a “tremendous amount” of money during his career, paying cash for several properties.

But the German, who later coached current world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, worked as a TV sports commentator and acted as a brand ambassador for companies such as Puma, said his earnings “had declined considerably” after his retirement in 1999.

Becker, who resided in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before moving to the UK, said his financial commitments included his £22,000-a-month rented house in Wimbledon, south-west London.

He also owed Swiss authorities five million francs (about $5.1 million) and separately just under a million euros in debt following a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.

He said bad publicity hurt the “Becker brand”, meaning he struggled to make enough money to pay off his debts.

His attorney Jonathan Laidlaw said at the time of his bankruptcy that Becker was overly “trusting and dependent” on his advisers.

Becker, with a tuft of strawberry blonde hair, shook the tennis world in 1985 when he became Wimbledon’s youngest men’s singles champion at 17 – repeating the feat the following year.

Nicknamed “Boom Boom” Becker for his ferocious serve, he won Wimbledon for the third time in 1989.

He also won the Australian Open twice and the US Open during his illustrious career, becoming the highest ranked player in the world in 1991.

Becker turned to commentary after his retirement, landing a prominent role at the BBC, but returned to the field in 2013 as Djokovic’s coach, helping the Serb win six more Grand Slam trophies before the couple separated in 2016.

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