Boris Becker found guilty of bankruptcy could face prison
LONDON (AP) — Tennis great Boris Becker could face jail after being found guilty on Friday of illegally moving thousands of dollars from a bank account after being declared bankrupt.
A jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court convicted Becker of four counts under insolvency law, including removal of property, concealment of debts and two counts of non-disclosure of estate.
The German star was discovered to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds (dollars) after his bankruptcy in June 2017 from his business account to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and his ex-wife Sharley “Lilly” Becker.
He was also found guilty of failing to declare property in Germany and concealing an 825,000 euro ($895,000) bank loan and shares in a technology company.
He was acquitted of 20 other charges, including failing to hand over his many awards, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal.
The six-time Grand Slam champion had denied all charges, saying he had cooperated with trustees charged with securing his assets – even offering his wedding ring – and had acted on expert advice.
Becker’s bankruptcy stems from a 4.6 million euro ($5 million) loan from a private bank in 2013, as well as about $1.6 million borrowed from a businessman British the following year, according to trial testimony.
During the trial, Becker, 54, said his $50million in career earnings were eaten up by ‘expensive divorce’ payments and debts when he lost much of his earnings after his retirement.
He said he had “expensive lifestyle commitments”, including a house in Wimbledon that cost 22,000 pounds ($28,800) in rent every month. But he said bad publicity had hurt the “Becker brand”, preventing him from earning enough to pay off his debts.
“(It’s) very difficult when you’re bankrupt and making headlines every week,” he told the jury. “(It’s) very difficult to make a lot of money with my name.”
The charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Becker was released on bail until a sentencing hearing on April 29.