Tennis great Becker jailed in UK bankruptcy case

German tennis great Boris Becker was jailed by a London court on Friday for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds of assets after he was declared bankrupt.

Becker was convicted earlier this month of four charges under Britain’s Insolvency Act, including failing to disclose, concealing and removing significant assets following a bankruptcy trial.

The 54-year-old six-times Grand Slam champion was found guilty of transferring money to his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely after his 2017 bankruptcy.

“It is notable you have not shown remorse or acceptance of your guilt,” judge Deborah Taylor told him as she sentenced him to two years and six months in prison at London’s Southwark Crown Court. “There has been no humility.”

She said Becker would serve half his sentence behind bars and the remainder on licence. Becker, whose partner Lillian and son Noah were in court, looked straight ahead as the sentence was handed down.

The trial had heard details of Becker’s career and how the former world number one, who won the Wimbledon championship three times, lost his fortune following his retirement.

The jury heard how he claimed not to know the location of some of his trophies, how he took a high-interest loan from one of Britain’s richest businessmen, and tried to avoid bankruptcy by claiming to have diplomatic protection from the Central African Republic.

Becker “was selective in the declaration of his assets. When it suited him he made full disclosure, when it didn’t, he didn’t,” said prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley who had urged the judge to pass a custodial sentence.

She accused Becker of “playing the system with bad faith” by concealing and transferring assets, and had deprived creditors of more than 2 million pounds ($2.51 million) in assets, none of which had so far been paid back.

The former tennis champion was made bankrupt in connection with a debt to private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co, and under the terms of the bankruptcy order, he was bound to provide full disclosure of assets.

He was convicted of failing to declare a property in Germany, hiding an 825,000 euro ($870,127.50) bank loan and shares in a Canadian technology firm.

He had denied all the charges, saying he had cooperated with the bankruptcy proceedings – even offering up his wedding ring – and had relied on his advisors.

“His reputation, an essential part of the brand, which gives him work, is in tatters,” Becker’s lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw said. “His fall is not simply a fall from grace, and amounts to the most public of humiliations.”

Becker was acquitted at the trial of 20 other counts, including charges that he failed to hand over other assets, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal.

He was previously convicted for tax evasion in Germany in 2002, for which he received a suspended prison sentence.

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