Former tennis world number 1 Boris Becker was sentenced on Friday to two and a half years in prison by a British court for financial crimes related to his personal bankruptcy.
• Read also: Good start for Leylah Annie Fernandez
Boris Becker, 54, was found guilty earlier this month of hiding £2.5 million (€3 million at current exchange rates) in assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.
Filed for personal bankruptcy in 2017, Boris Becker is sentenced on four counts: one count of removal of property, two counts of non-disclosure of property and one count of concealment of debt.
The six-time Grand Slam winner, who has lived in the UK since 2012, was found guilty on April 8 by London’s Southwark Crown Court of concealing or illicitly transferring hundreds of thousands of euros and pounds sterling for failing to settle his debts after being declared bankrupt. .
In particular, he is 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 the property in Germany and of having concealed a loan of 825,000 euros and shares in a company.
Boris Becker arrived in a London taxi on Friday morning at 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, walked in with a sports bag.
He remained unmoved by the announcement of his sentence, collecting his bag before being led to his cell. No information was immediately leaked about a possible appeal.
Judge Deborah Taylor, announcing his sentence, told him: “You showed no remorse or acknowledgment of guilt and tried to distance yourself from your wrongdoing and your bankruptcy.” “While I recognize there is humiliation in the process, there was no humility,” she added.
As for the reactions, Chris Evert, legend of women’s tennis, reacted on Twitter to the imprisonment of the former number one in the world. “Sorry to hear about Boris Becker. [C’était] great to work with him at Eurosport, always a gentleman,” he wrote.
Bankruptcy and shame
Twenty years ago, Becker received 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 his children’s daily expenses or school fees.
Boris Becker, who denies all charges, was acquitted of 20 other charges, including those related to the disappearance of his trophies.
He had assured the audience that he did not know where they were.
Among the nine accolades creditors would have liked to get their hands on were two of her three Wimbledon cups, two Australian Open trophies and her doubles gold at the 1992 Olympics.
The former tennis player said during the trial, which was held from March 21 to April 8, that she still has “many” of the prizes and memories accumulated in 15 years on the circuit, but some have disappeared.
He had already sold part of his prizes 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).
Tarnished “Becker brand”
The announcement of his bankruptcy came a few days before the Wimbledon tournament, in which the first German player to have won a Grand Slam title worked for the BBC and Australian and Japanese television.
At the hearing, he had said how much he had been “shocked by the situation”. “It was all over the news, I walked through the Wimbledon gates and everyone knew it. I was embarrassed because I was broke,” he said.
According to him, his bankruptcy and his treatment in the media damaged the “Becker brand”, so much so that he later had difficulty paying his debts.
This is not the first case of Boris Becker, a restless athlete, who had lived in Monaco and Switzerland before settling in England.
He has already had legal setbacks for non-payment of debts with the Spanish justice, regarding work in his villa in Mallorca, and with the Swiss justice, for not having paid the pastor who married him in 2009.
In 2002, German courts sentenced him to a two-year suspended prison sentence and a €500,000 fine for some €1.7 million in back taxes.