Imprisonment for tennis legend? decision within the next few hours

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Of: Michael Haug

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Boris Becker was found guilty of four charges of delaying bankruptcy – his prison sentence could be announced on Friday.

London – When Boris Becker was convicted of tax evasion 20 years ago in Munich, he escaped with a black eye. The court left it with two years probation and a fine. In the process of his adopted home in London to delay insolvency, observers now consider a prison sentence for the German tennis icon to be possible. Earlier this month, Becker was found guilty of four out of 24 charges, and the verdict is set to be announced on Friday.

The 54-year-old has achieved world fame and wealth with legendary victories at Wimbledon and other major tennis tournaments. But the German lost his fortune – and must have repeatedly violated the law in the insolvency proceedings initiated for this reason.

Boris Becker: At what points was the tennis legend found guilty?

A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London found him guilty of one case of removal of property, two cases of failure to disclose property and one case of concealment of debt. Although only a partially guilty verdict, Becker risks up to seven years in prison, according to British media.

According to the judgment, Leimener did not fully comply with its disclosure obligations. These were property in Germany, shares in a technology company and a bank loan of 825,000 euros. According to the jury, Becker also transferred large sums to the accounts of his ex-wives Barbara and Lilly Becker.

Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London. © IMAGO / WIktor Szymanowicz

In June 2017, a bankruptcy court in London declared the triple Wimbledon champion bankrupt due to outstanding debts. Becker’s outstanding debt was estimated at up to £ 50 million (€ 59 million) at the time.

Becker, who won six Grand Slam tournaments in his sports career, has repeatedly had legal difficulties with money matters. The Spanish judiciary charged Becker with debts related to his villa in Mallorca, and the Swiss judiciary for allegedly not paying the priest who married him in 2009.

In 2002, Becker was sentenced in Munich to two years probation and a fine of 500,000 euros for tax evasion of about 1.7 million euros. This process, as well as malice over several failed relationships with the sports star, contributed to “Bumm-Bumm-Boris”‘s relationship with his native Germany cooling off, and he chose London as his place of residence.

Insolvency proceedings: Becker denies allegations

Becker denies that he has again violated applicable laws in insolvency proceedings in the UK. The trial in London involved several trophies that he is said to have withheld, including the trophy for his first Wimbledon victory in 1985, when he was only 17 years old. More than 80 other Becker items, including trophies, tennis rackets, photos, watches and a “Bambi”, were auctioned off until July 2019.

With a proceeds of around 765,000 euros, only a fraction of Becker’s debt was settled. In November 2019, it was decreed that the tennis legend should bow to the insolvency claims of the British authorities for twelve more years. The extension of the measure until October 16, 2031, is intended to prevent “Mr. Becker from causing further damage to his creditors,” the responsible insolvency authority explained at the time.

For Becker, his insolvency and its consequences are a hard blow. In court, he said he was “shocked” and “ashamed” of his bankruptcy. He and his lawyer painted a picture of him as a man who had lost track of his possessions and expenses.

At least Becker does not have to go through this alone. His partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro accompanied him regularly in court. Becker’s eldest son Noah was also by his side. Should Judge Deborah Taylor send Boris Becker to jail on Friday, he can certainly use the support of his loved ones.

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