Explained | Why was tennis star Boris Becker sentenced to prison?

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During his career, Boris Becker won six Grand Slams in all – three Wimbledon Championships, two Australian Open titles, and one Roland Garros title.

During his career, Boris Becker won six Grand Slams in all – three Wimbledon Championships, two Australian Open titles, and one Roland Garros title.

The story so far: Former tennis champion Boris Becker was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Friday on charges related to his 2017 declaration of bankruptcy. London’s Southwark Crown Court found Mr. Becker guilty of transferring large amounts of money illicitly and hiding assets after he was declared bankrupt. He will serve half of the term.

Mr. Becker was convicted in April on four charges of the U.K. Insolvency Act and had faced a maximum of seven years in prison. The international tennis star was acquitted of a further twenty charges, including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and medals he won during his career.

“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,” Judge Deborah Taylor said while passing the sentence.

What happened in 2017?

In 2017, Mr. Becker was declared bankrupt over debt that had been outstanding since 2015. The bankruptcy application was filed by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co. Mr. Becker’s lawyers had asked for a 28-day adjournment, hoping that remortgaging a property in Spain would help pay off the debt. The plea was, however, rejected by court registrar Christine Derrett. She had famously referred to Mr. Becker as someone who gave the impression that “his head was in the sand”.

What are the new findings related to bankruptcy?

According to the new findings, Mr. Becker transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds from his business account to other accounts, including that of his former wives Barbara Becker and Lilly Becker.

Mr. Becker was convicted of hiding property in Germany and failing to declare $866,500 of debt, and shares in a tech firm.

According to Mr. Becker, his career savings of approximately $50 million were diminished by a costly divorce from his first wife, child maintenance payments, and lifestyle commitments. He also said that he was shocked and embarrassed when he was declared bankrupt in 2017.

The former tennis star owed $5.1 million to Swiss authorities and close to $1 million in liabilities over a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002. According to Judge Taylor, Mr. Becker’s conviction for tax evasion in Germany was a “significant aggravating factor”.

What was Mr. Becker’s international tennis career like?

Mr. Becker became an overnight star when he won the 1985 Wimbledon Championship as an unseeded player when he was 17. During his career, he won six Grand Slams in all – three Wimbledon Championships, two Australian Open titles, and one Roland Garros title. In 1991, he became the top-ranked player in the world. Mr. Becker retired from the sport in 1999.

After his retirement, he spent some time as a commentator before returning to the arena as the coach of Serbian world champion Novak Djokovic. Under Mr. Becker’s guidance, Mr. Djokovic won six Grand Slam trophies before they parted ways in 2016.

Mr. Becker has lived in Britain since 2012.

(With inputs from AFP)



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