Boris Becker jailed for over two years for hiding £2.5m assets to avoid bankruptcy debts

29 April 2022, 15:48 | Updated: 29 April 2022, 17:14

Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court with his partner Lilian. Right, aged 17 lifting the Wimbledon trophy in 1985
Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court with his partner Lilian. Right, aged 17 lifting the Wimbledon trophy in 1985. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has been jailed for over two years for hiding £2.5 million worth of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.

The 54-year-old pundit and former number one was convicted of transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds from his business account and failing to declare a property in his home town of Leimen, Germany.

He also owed creditors almost £50 million, over an unpaid loan of more than £3 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

The father-of-four was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act, including removal of property, two counts of failing to disclose estate and concealing debt, between June 21 and October 3 2017, earlier this month.

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Boris Becker was jailed for two years and six months
Boris Becker was jailed for two years and six months. Picture: Alamy

The six-time Grand Slam champion was acquitted of a further 20 counts, including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and medals from his tennis career.

He appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Friday for his sentencing wearing a tie in the Wimbledon colours of purple and green and was joined by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro and his eldest son Noah.

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Judge Deborah Taylor sentenced Becker to two and a half years imprisonment, of which he will serve half, telling the tennis ace she accepts his humiliation but there "has been no humility".

Becker tied his trainers but showed no emotion as he picked up his Puma bag before being taken down to the cells.

Referring to his previous 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."

She told Becker: "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."

But she added: "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 was handed a two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion worth 1.7 million euro (around £1.4 million) in Germany in 2002.

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The BBC commentator was declared bankrupt on June 21 2017 over an unpaid loan of more than £3 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

He transferred almost 427,000 euros (about £390,000) from his business account to others, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely "Lilly" Becker.

The German national, who has lived in the UK since 2012, claimed he had cooperated with trustees tasked with securing his assets, even offering up his wedding ring, and had acted on expert advice.

Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said on Friday the jury had found he acted "deliberately and dishonestly", but added: "Even now, Mr Becker is still seeking to blame others when it was obviously his duty."

The court heard he received 1.13 million euros (about £950,000) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany into a business account used as his "piggy bank" for his personal expenses.

They included £7,600 on children's school fees, almost £1,000 at Harrods, and payments made to Ralph Lauren, Porsche, Ocado and a Chelsea children's club.

Becker's barrister Jonathan Laidlaw QC said the tennis star's "fall from grace" was "the most public humiliation".

"Boris Becker has literally nothing and there is also nothing to show for what was the most glittering of sporting careers and that is correctly termed as nothing short of a tragedy," he said.

"These proceedings have destroyed his career entirely and ruined any further prospect of earning an income.

"His reputation is in tatters.

"He will not be able to find work and will have to rely on the charity of others if he is to survive."

Becker was sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment, of which he will serve half.