Ex-tennis player Boris Becker sentenced to two and a half years in prison for fraud

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Former German tennis player Boris Becker was sentenced on Friday to two and a half years in prison by British justice for having concealed hundreds of thousands of pounds from the tax authorities when he had been declared personal bankruptcy.

He was one of the best players of his generation, before financial setbacks and various embezzlements brought him to court once his career was over. The former world No.1 of tennis Boris Becker was sentenced on 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.

The six-time winner of Grand Slam tournamentswho lives in UK since 2012, had been found guilty, on April 8, by Southwark Crown Court in London, of having concealed or illicitly transferred hundreds of thousands of euros and pounds sterling to avoid 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 euros and shares in a company.

Boris Becker arrived Friday morning in a London taxi at the court, walking hand in hand with his partner 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.

Disputing the charges

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.

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 cups won at Wimbledontwo trophies of theAustralian Open and her doubles gold medal at the 1992 Olympics.

The former tennis star said during the trial, which was held from March 21 to April 8, that he still had “many” of the awards and memorabilia collected in 15 years on the circuit, but some have disappeared .

He had already sold part of his awards at auction for 700,000 pounds (840,000 euros) in order to pay off part of his debts. At the time of his bankruptcy, his debts were estimated at up to 50 million pounds sterling (59 million euros).

The “Becker brand” undermined

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 Mallorca, and with Swiss justice, for not having paid the pastor who married him in 2009.

In 2002, the German courts sentenced him to a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 euros for some 1.7 million euros in tax arrears.

With AFP

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