Tennis Great Boris Becker Gets 2 1/2 Years in Prison For Bankruptcy Offenses
Becker retired from tennis in 1999 and struggled to find another career he excelled at. He had never intended to become a tennis star in the first place. He had intended to go to a university and pursue a career. When tennis side-tracked those teenage goals, he later had trouble finding his footing outside tennis. He explained, “I didn’t know what to write on my passport as a profession. Ex-tennis player?”
While Becker was successful in tennis, he was not successful managing his private finances. In 2002, Becker was fined €300,000 (£250,000) by a Munich court for tax evasion totaling €1.7m.
Fast forward to 2017, and Becker declared bankruptcy in London. By declaring bankruptcy, he was required to reveal all of his assets, but he failed to do that. Instead, he hid €426,930.90 (approximately $450,000) by transferring this money to several third-parties including a property in Germany and shares in Breaking Data Corp. He also transferring money from his business account to the accounts of his ex-wives, Barbara Becker and Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.
In April 2022, Becker was convicted on four charges under the Insolvency Act. He faced up to 7 years in prison. In the end, he was sentenced with 2 and a half years in prison.
Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley explained, Becker “was selective in the declaration of his assets. When it suited him, he made full disclosure; when it didn’t, he didn’t.”
In court in London, Becker denied all charges. Defense attorney Jonathan Laidlaw argued that Becker’s money was spent on things like child support and rent. He requested that the court be lenient on Becker. According to Becker, the money from his tennis career disappeared due to an “expensive divorce.”
Laidlaw also explained that Becker most likely won’t be able to find work after this court case. He told the court, “proceedings have destroyed his career entirely and ruined any further prospect of earning an income.” He added, “His reputation is in tatters. He will not be able to find work and will have to rely on the charity of others if he is to survive.”
After the court’s decision, Dean Beale, chief executive of the Insolvency Service, explained that Becker’s fate should be a warning to others. He said, “Today’s verdict confirms that Boris Becker failed to comply with his legal obligation to declare significant assets in his bankruptcy.” He added, “This conviction serves as a clear warning to those who think they can hide their assets and get away with it. You will be found out and prosecuted.”