Boris Becker found guilty after giving bankruptcy officials ‘runaround’ over missing trophies



Tennis legend Boris Becker has been found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act after giving bankruptcy officials the “runaround” over missing trophies.

The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, was accused of hiding millions of pounds worth of assets, including two Wimbledon trophies, to avoid paying his debts.

Becker, who won 49 singles titles in 77 finals over 16 years, was also acquitted of a further 20 counts relating to his 2017 bankruptcy at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

He has been danced ahead of sentencing on 29 April and could be facing a prison sentence of up to six years or a heavy fine.

Former world number one Becker was declared bankrupt on 21 June 2017 over an unpaid loan of more than £3 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

The German national, who has lived in the UK since 2012, claimed he had cooperated with trustees tasked with securing his assets, even offering up his wedding ring, and had acted on expert advice.

Becker, who was supported throughout the trial by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, was found guilty of four charges, including removal of property, two counts of failing to disclose estate and concealing debt.

Some of his trophies were auctioned off for £700,000 to pay off money he owed and he has made various appeals to try to locate them, jurors at the trial heard earlier this week.

Major tennis associations, halls of fame and museums are among the places that have been contacted, but Becker said he is “not in a better position today” to say where they are.

The prizes include two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies, his 1992 Olympic gold medal, Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996, the President’s Cup from 1985 and 1989, his 1989 Davis Cup trophy and a Davis Cup gold coin which he won in 1988 .

Becker is also accused of hiding 1.13 million euros (about £950,000) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany.

The money is said to have been paid into his Boris Becker Private Office Ltd business account, which he used as a “piggy bank” to pay personal expenses, such as his children’s school fees, the court was told.

Becker is also said to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

He also allegedly failed to declare two German properties, as well as his interest in a £2.25 million flat in Chelsea, west London, occupied by his daughter Anna Ermakova, and hid an 825,000 euro (almost £700,000) bank loan as well as shares in a tech firm.

Jurors previously heard Becker’s bankruptcy resulted from a 4.6 million euro (£3.85 million) loan from private bank Arbuthnot Latham in 2013, and £1.2 million, with a 25 per cent interest rate, borrowed from British businessman John Caudwell the following year.

The court heard the former world number one earned a “vast amount” of money, winning about 50 million US dollars (about £38 million) in prize money and sponsorship deals.

But Becker, who went on to coach current tennis star Novak Djokovic, said his earnings “reduced dramatically” following his retirement in 1999.

He said he was involved in an “expensive divorce” from ex-wife Barbara Becker in 2001, involving high maintenance payments to their two sons, and had to support his daughter Anna Ermakova and her mother, in a deal which included a £2.5 million Chelsea flat.

German national Becker, who was resident in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before moving to the UK in 2012, said he had “expensive lifestyle commitments”.

He also owed the Swiss authorities five million francs (about £4 million) and separately just under one million euro (more than £800,000) in liabilities over a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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