Written by Andrew McCaskill
LONDON (Reuters) – A London court on Friday sentenced former German tennis player Boris Becker to 2.5 years in prison for hiding assets worth hundreds of thousands of pounds after he declared bankruptcy.
Baker was convicted of four counts under UK insolvency law, including non-disclosure, concealment and removal of critical assets following a bankruptcy ruling.
The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, was convicted of funneling money to his ex-wife Barbara and his estranged wife Charlie after he went bankrupt in 2017.
Judge Deborah Taylor told Baker when sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court in London: “It is remarkable that you have not shown any remorse or acquiescence in your guilt.” “There was no humility.”
The judge said Baker would serve half of his sentence behind bars and the rest on conditional terms. Baker, whose current partner was Lillian and son Noah on court, looked straight ahead without showing any emotion at sentencing.
He was previously convicted of tax evasion in Germany in 2002, but has not been imprisoned.
During the trial, details were revealed about Becker’s career and how the world number one, who won Wimbledon three times, lost his fortune after retiring.
The jury heard how he claimed not knowing where some of his prizes were, how he took a high-interest loan from one of the UK’s richest businessmen, and tried to avoid bankruptcy by claiming he had diplomatic protection from the Central African Republic.
Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said Baker was “selective in disclosing his assets”.
The former tennis champion has been declared bankrupt due to a debt owed to Arbuthnot Latham & Co and, under the provisions of the Bankruptcy Act, has been required to disclose his assets in full.
He was convicted of failing to advertise a property in Germany, concealing a bank loan of 825,000 euros and shares in a Canadian technology company.
He had denied all charges, saying he cooperated with the bankruptcy process – he even gave his wedding ring – and captured his advisers.
“His reputation, an essential part of the brand that gives him the business, is in tatters,” said Baker’s attorney, Jonathan Laidlow. “His fall is not merely a fall from grace, it is the greatest humiliation of the public.”
((Translation of the newsroom in Rio de Janeiro))
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