Boris Becker denies giving officials the ‘runaround’ over missing trophies

Tennis champion Boris Becker denies giving bankruptcy officials the ‘runaround’ over missing trophies to be sold to pay off his debts a court heard.

04 April 2022

Six-time Grand Slam tennis champion Boris Becker has denied giving bankruptcy officials the “runaround” over missing trophies.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the tennis star, 54, is accused of failing to hand over a number of awards after he was declared bankrupt in June 2017.

During proceedings on Monday, Becker was asked by prosecutor Rebecca Chalkey if he had given the trustee of bankruptcy “the runaround” in an attempt to conceal the prizes.

Boris Becker bankruptcy sale
Trophies, awards, and memorabilia from the tennis career of Boris Becker (Jonathan Brady/PA)

She said: “You reportedly claimed that you didn’t know where the missing trophies were. That’s simply not true Mr Becker is it?”

“You gave him the runaround,” she added.

But the former player, who has also worked as a BBC commentator and a brand ambassador for firms including Puma, said “that’s not correct”.

Becker, who won 49 singles titles in 77 finals over 16 years, denies 24 charges under the Insolvency Act.

Some of his trophies were auctioned off for £700,000 to pay his debts and he has made various appeals to try to locate them, the court heard.

Major tennis associations, halls of fame and museums are among the places that have been contacted, but Becker said he is “not in a better position today” to say where they are.

The prizes include two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies, his 1992 Olympic gold medal, Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996, the President’s Cup from 1985 and 1989, his 1989 Davis Cup trophy and a Davis Cup gold coin which he won in 1988.

Becker is also accused of hiding 1.13 million euro (about £950,000) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany.

The money is said to have been paid into his Boris Becker Private Office Ltd business account, which he used as a “piggy bank” to pay personal expenses, such as his children’s school fees, the court was told.

Barbie event/Becker
Boris Becker and his ex-wife Barbara (Peter Jordan/PA)

Becker is also said to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

He also allegedly failed to declare two German properties, as well as his interest in a £2.25 million flat in Chelsea, west London, occupied by his daughter Anna Ermakova, and hid an 825,000 euro (almost £700,000) bank loan as well as shares in a tech firm.

Becker, who is being supported in court by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, has a previous conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002, the court was told.

Jurors previously heard Becker’s bankruptcy resulted from a 4.6 million euro (£3.85 million) loan from private bank Arbuthnot Latham in 2013, and £1.2 million, with a 25% interest rate, borrowed from British businessman John Caudwell the following year.

The court heard the former world number one earned a “vast amount” of money, winning about 50 million US dollars (about £38 million) in prize money and sponsorship deals.

But Becker, who went on to coach current tennis star Novak Djokovic, said his earnings “reduced dramatically” following his retirement in 1999.

He said he was involved in an “expensive divorce” from ex-wife Barbara Becker in 2001, involving high maintenance payments to their two sons, and had to support his daughter Anna Ermakova and her mother, in a deal which included a £2.5 million Chelsea flat.

German national Becker, who was resident in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before moving to the UK in 2012, said he had “expensive lifestyle commitments”.

He also owed the Swiss authorities five million francs (about £4 million) and separately just under one million euro (more than £800,000) in liabilities over a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.

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