World famous Tennis legend Boris Becker has been jailed for two years and six months following various breaches of his bankruptcy order. Becker was made bankrupt in 2017 and ordered to comply with Insolvency laws but he was found to have hid millions of pounds worth of assets.
At Southwark Crown Court, he was found guilty on four charges relating to breaches of UK Insolvency laws but acquitted on a further 20 counts in connection with his 2017 bankruptcy. On sentencing Boris Becker to prison, the presiding judge Deborah Taylor said
“I take into account what has been described as your ‘fall from grace’. You have lost your career and reputation and all of your property as a result of your bankruptcy.”
adding “You have not shown remorse, acceptance of your guilt and have sought to distance yourself from your offending and your bankruptcy. While I accept your humiliation as part of the proceedings, there has been no humility.”
Becker has had previous brushes with tax authorities over his finances. In 2002, he was handed a two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion worth €1.7m (about £1.4m). Referring to that conviction, the judge said: “You did not heed the warning you were given and the chance you were given by the suspended sentence and that is a significant aggravating factor.”
Becker, wearing a striped tie in Wimbledon’s purple and green colours, walked into the courthouse hand in hand with his girlfriend, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro. His son Noah had also attended, carrying a large Puma bag.
The six-time tennis grand slam champion had denied all the charges, saying he had cooperated with trustees tasked with securing his assets – even offering up his wedding ring – and had acted on expert advice.
But at the sentencing hearing on Friday, the prosecutor, Rebecca Chalkley, said Becker had acted “deliberately and dishonestly” and that he was “still seeking to blame others”.
The defence attorney, Jonathan Laidlaw, argued for leniency, saying his client had not spent money on a “lavish lifestyle” but rather on child support, rent and legal and business expenses. Becker, he told the court, had experienced “public humiliation” and had no future earnings potential.
Becker’s bankruptcy stemmed from a €4.6m loan from a private bank in 2013, as well as about $1.6m borrowed from a British businessman the year after, according to testimony at the trial.
During the trial Becker, said his $50m (£40m) career earnings had been swallowed up by payments for an “expensive divorce” and debts when he lost large chunks of his income after retirement. He has been the subject of various debt collection actions and it is alleged debt collection in London was a regular occurrence against Becker.
But the judge took into account the lengths to which Becker went to avoid paying his debts, including failing to declare his share in a £1m property in his home town of Leimen, Germany, hiding an €825,000 (almost £700,000) bank loan, worth £1.1m with interest, and concealing 75,000 shares in a tech business valued at £66,000.