Sporting legend sold trophies for £700k to clear debts

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boris becker unpaid debts

Trophies won by tennis sporting legend Boris Becker were auctioned off for £700,000 to pay debts off as part of his bankruptcy a court has been told.

Global Tennis star Boris Becker, 54 is accused of auctioning off his trophies to pay off his debts after he was declared bankrupt in 2017, Southwark Crown Court heard

German Becker denies 24 charges under the Insolvency Act for the undeclared auction.

The charges also include seven of concealing property, five of failing to disclose estate, two of removal of property and one of concealing debt

Becker won 49 singles titles in 77 finals in 16 years during his career

The former Wimbledon winner and six-time Grand Slam champion is accused of failing to hand over nine other trophies however. This is including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles titles and an Olympic gold medal, after he was declared bankrupt in June 2017.

Southwark Crown Court was told on last Thursday that BBC commentator Becker was ‘frustrated’ with the bankruptcy process, which continues to this day.

He also felt he was ‘badly treated’ by private bank Arbuthnot Latham, which initiated proceedings over a debt of more than £3 million over a loan on his estate in Mallorca, Spain – part of which was subject to a 25% yearly interest rate.

Trustee Mark Ford – one of those tasked with recovering Becker’s assets – said he had a ‘tense’ relationship with the sports star, who became ’emotional’ when talking about trophies he said he had lost control of.

The jury heard that in one conversation with Mr Ford, the tennis star said: ‘Mark, do you think, bearing in mind I am now facing criminal charges relating to these trophies, that if I had access to them, I wouldn’t have given them to you?’

Becker’s barrister Jonathan Laidlaw QC explained the trophies players are allowed to keep are miniature versions of those presented on court, showing jurors his 1986 President’s Cup replica.

He said the trophy was given by Becker to his mother, along with his Wimbledon title from the same year, and neither are included in the charges he faces.

The court has heard how other memorabilia taken from Becker, and his mother’s German home, was sold off to pay his debts and debt collection agencies.

‘There was an auction which realised something like £700,000,’ said Mr Laidlaw.

German Becker, who won 49 singles titles in 77 finals in 16 years, denies 24 charges under the Insolvency Act.

They include nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and other awards, seven of concealing property, five of failing to disclose estate, two of removal of property and one of concealing debt.

As well as failing to offer up memorabilia, including his 1991 and 1996 Australian Open trophies and his Davis Cup trophy and gold coin, Becker is accused of hiding 1.13 million euro (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 unpaid school fees, the court was told.

Becker is 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 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.

The court has heard Becker, who is being supported in court by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, has a previous conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.

The trial continues.

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