Boris Becker sentenced to two and a half years for bankruptcy (he risked seven): he is already in prison

from Andrea Sereni

The former German tennis champion will serve at least half of his sentence in jail. The judge: He never repented

On doomsday he wore the green and purple striped Wimbledon tie. As a symbol of a glory that time and mistakes have wiped out. Boris Becker was convicted of fraudulent bankruptcy to two and a half years in jail by Southwark courthouse, South London. He will have to serve at least half of his sentence behind bars, while the remaining period will be under the semilibert regime.

In pronouncing the sentence yesterday, the judge, Deborah Taylor, stressed that the former tennis player has not admitted his guilt or felt remorse. There was a total lack of humility on her part. Becker was found guilty of four of the 24 tax offenses he was on trial for, born for loans never repaid to the private bank Arbuthnot Latham (3.6 million euros) and an English businessman (another 1.6 million). Not only that: he did not declare real estate in Germany and, to hide money from creditors, he transferred it to other people’s accounts, in most cases family members.

At the hearing – in which the prosecutor defined his deliberate and dishonest conduct – Becker, 54 years old and six Grand Slam titles (including three at Wimbledon), arrived hand in hand with his current partner, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, at he had just bought a bouquet of flowers. Elegant but taut, blue coat covering the gray dress, face flushed under platinum blonde hair, straight on her head. He also brought a military green Puma duffel bag, full of clothes. With him also his eldest son Noah, had by his first wife Barbara.

One of the causes of the bankruptcy, according to his lawyer, Jonathan Laidlaw, who tried to avoid jail at the old Bum Bum by saying the money went not to fuel an over-the-top lifestyle, but rather for divorce-related expenses. and the maintenance of the four children. This man has a broken reputation by now – he said -. He will no longer have any contract on which to earn, he has already paid what he was due. Evidently not enough.

Always controversial in his relationship with money and law, Becker once again relied on the wrong people, who managed his assets (over 45 million euros earned in his career alone) in a chaotic way. There are many gray areas of the affair, including the attempted appeal, in the summer of 2018, to an alleged diplomatic immunity as a consultant of the Central African Republic for sport in the European Union. A charge that never existed.

Yet Boris seemed to have relaunched himself when, between 2013 and 2016, he sat in the box of Novak Djokovic, coach together with his loyal Marjan Vajda. Thoughtful and smart, attentive and accomplice, he was able to help the Serbian grow in the eternal duel with Federer and Nadal, leading him to win six slams. Also a consultant to the German federtennis, he slowly let himself be surrounded by shadows. Until the bankruptcy, declared in June 2017. A couple of years later, it was not necessary to auction more than 70 memorabilia won in his career: he raised about 750 thousand euros, not much to stem the wave of debts that had already swept up.

A recidivist, in 2002 he was sentenced by the Munich court to two years’ imprisonment with a parole for tax evasion for 1.7 million euros. A precedent that had weight in yesterday’s sentence. You did not heed the warning you were given then – the judge’s words – and this is a significant aggravating circumstance.

At the gates of prison, champion on the ropes, a few days ago Becker met a documentary director, George Chignell, with whom he seems to be thinking of making a film about his life. Loves and mistakes, falls and triumphs. I will see him in the armchair with the Wimbledon tie on his chest.

April 29, 2022 (change April 29, 2022 | 23:19)

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Boris Becker sentenced to two and a half years for bankruptcy (he risked seven): he is already in prison

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