LONDON: 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.
Sentencing Becker on Friday, the 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.”
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 sentenced him to two years and six months in prison at London’s Southwark Crown Court. 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 former tennis star was found guilty of four charges by a jury at Southwark crown court this month but acquitted of a further 20 counts relating to his 2017 bankruptcy. He had faced a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
The six-time 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.
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. He told the court Becker had experienced “public humiliation” and had no future earnings potential.
Becker’s bankruptcy stemmed from a 4.6m loan Euros 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.
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.