Ex-tennis star in jail: divorce, oil, cars: How Boris Becker earned 120 million euros and lost it again
During his bankruptcy proceedings in 2017, Boris Becker hid more assets from the British tax authorities than most Germans will ever own. FOCUS Online shows how Becker earned his fortune – and what he then spent on it.
Boris Becker was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The 54-year-old was convicted in London because, in his private insolvency proceedings, he hid, among other things, a property in his hometown of Leimen and shares worth a total of more than one million euros. It represents only a fraction of what Becker once owned in terms of assets. At his wedding, his possessions were estimated at around 100 million euros.
Since most Germans find it incomprehensible both to have so much wealth and to spend so much money again, we list how the former tennis star got his money and what he spent it on until he went bankrupt.
Revenue: prize money (EUR 23.8 million)
Boris Becker earned exactly $ 25,080,956 in prize money during his career as a tennis player from 1984 to 1999. At today’s rate and without taking into account the loss of purchasing power caused by inflation, it is around 23.8 million euros. He booked the highest single victory by winning the Grand Slam Cup in Munich in 1996. The equivalent of 1.785 million euros was paid for the title. 1.1 million euros brought him victory at the ATP Tour World Championship in Frankfurt in 1995.
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Overall, Boris Becker is the 14th tennis player with the highest career earnings. He was denied a higher ranking because the prize money in his active days in the 1980s and 1990s was significantly lower than they are today.
Income: tennis (45 million euros)
As a top player, Boris Becker was also in demand outside of official tournaments. His first Wimbledon triumph in 1985 brought him a kit deal with Puma worth about 10 million euros. Sales of tennis rackets exploded thanks to Becker’s fame. The contract expired in 1989. It can be assumed that Becker at the time entered into similarly high contracts with other outfitters, which would amount to around 30 million euros at the end of his career. In addition, there was revenue for show matches and the German Davis Cup team of an estimated 15 million euros.
Income: advertising (50 million euros)
Becker has been a sought-after actor in commercials since his active days. In his bankruptcy proceedings, he assessed that the income from this was approximately the same as his premium amount. Among Becker’s engagements are classics from advertising history such as the legendary “Am I Already In?” for the Internet service provider AOL in 1999.
After his career, he advertised for Mercedes, Coca-Cola, Philips, various poker sites, Saturn, Media Markt and most recently for Check24. The “picture” estimates his income from this at an additional 25 million euros. However, this information cannot be verified.
Revenue: Novak Djokovic coach (3.2 million euros)
Becker took over the job as coach of top player Novak Djokovic in 2013. He coached the Serbs until 2017. His salary is said to have been around 800,000 euros a year.
Income: TV and books (at least 1.5 million euros)
After his active career, Boris Becker was a welcome guest in the media. He commented on tennis matches for the pay-TV broadcaster Premiere and DSF as well as for the British BBC and from 2017 to the end for Eurosport. His contract there would theoretically run until 2023. For his tennis reportage, Becker received, among other things, the German TV award for the best sports program in 2018.
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In addition, he was also seen in many programs apart from his favorite sport. In 2004 he presented 15 programs from the talk show “Becker 1: 1”, in 2006 he participated in “Sofaduell” in sports quizzes against amateurs. He appeared in various quiz shows in Germany and the UK, in 2009 on ProSieben’s “Schlag den Star”.
How much Becker earned with the various performances can only be assessed. It is known only from his involvement in Eurosport that he received 100,000 euros per tournament. With three Grand Slam tournaments, which he commented on a year, that equates to 1.5 million euros.
In addition, Becker published two autobiographies that are said to have brought him about 500,000 euros.
Expenses: Divorce of Barbara Becker (15 million euros)
The probably most expensive decision in Becker’s life was the separation from his wife Barbara in 2001. It cost him a settlement of about 15 million euros. In addition, Becker paid maintenance for both their sons Noah (born in 1994) and Elias (1999) for years.
Expenditure: maintenance for Anna Ermakova (7.1 million euros)
Anna Ermakova is the child who has long been thought to have been conceived in a legendary broom closet. Although this urban legend has now been disproved, Becker’s one-night stand from 1999 cost him dearly. In 2001, after first denying paternity, he committed a one-time payment of six million euros and monthly maintenance of 5,100 euros. To date, this has increased to more than seven million euros.
Expenses: luxury lifestyle (unknown amount)
One of Becker’s main problems seems to be an excessive lifestyle. One of his fixed expenses is to rent an apartment in London for € 35,000 a month. In ten years, it will run up to 4.2 million euros. He must also have had a follower for years – also on the trip – which cost him 750,000 euros a year. However, it is unclear exactly what time period we are talking about here, why the costs can not be calculated, but they are determined in the million class.
Expenditure: Mercedes-Benz dealers (at least 9.4 million euros)
Becker’s manager at the time, Ion Tiriac, had the idea of investing part of Becker’s assets in three Mercedes-Benz car dealerships in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In 1993, Becker paid an amount of double-digit millions, but at that time it was still in German marks. In 2015, car dealers reported only a minimal profit per year, but a debt of 9.4 million euros. In 2017, they were sold to Autohaus Brinkmann GmbH from Güstrow for an unknown price.
Expenditure: tax evasion (3.5 million euros)
In 2002, Becker was sentenced to a suspended sentence and a fine of a total of 500,000 euros for tax evasion by the Munich Regional Court. He also had to pay back three million euros in taxes, which he had evaded between 1991 and 1995, when he was officially registered in Monaco but lived in Munich. That Becker immediately paid his tax debt had a mitigating effect.
Expenditure: Nigerian oil wells (unknown amount)
Becker wasted a lot of money in Nigeria. Documents from the disclosure platform “Football Leaks”, which actually specializes in football players, showed in 2017 that Becker apparently should have invested money in oil wells in Nigeria, Africa, from 2013. It is unclear how much money Becker has lost. The documents speak of investments in the millions. The largest single sum was apparently around nine million euros. It is unclear exactly what these investments looked like, but their loss of value is said to have been the deciding factor in Becker’s bankruptcy in 2017.
Expenses: High-interest loans (unknown amount)
To finance his high expenses, Becker has probably repeatedly taken out loans. He owes the Swiss businessman Hans-Dieter Cleven a total of about 36 million euros. It started in 2001 with a loan equivalent to 1.25 million euros, which grew annually with interest. Becker only partially earned his installments. Worse is a loan from a British businessman who went public during bankruptcy proceedings. In 2014, Becker borrowed the equivalent of 2.1 million euros at an annual exorbitant interest rate of 25 percent. When he first paid in 2016, the miserable one grew to more than four million euros.
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