Tennis star Boris Becker could be jailed for transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds from his business account after going bankrupt.
The three-time Wimbledon champion, 54, told a jury his career earnings of US$50m (around £38m) had been swallowed up by a costly divorce from first wife Barbara Becker, child support for children and “expensive lifestyle commitments”.
Former world number one Becker said he was “shocked” and “embarrassed” when he was declared bankrupt on June 21, 2017 over an unpaid loan of over £3million on his property in Mallorca.
The German, who has lived in the UK since 2012, said he cooperated with trustees responsible for securing his assets, even offering his wedding ring, and relied on advisers who managed his life.
But the six-time Grand Slam champion, supported in court by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro and eldest son Noah, was found guilty of four counts under insolvency law by a jury at the court of the Crown of Southwark on Friday.
The charges include removal of property, two counts of non-disclosure of estate and concealment of debts.
Judge Deborah Taylor released Becker on bail ahead of sentencing on April 29, when he could face a maximum prison term of seven years on each count.
The court heard the BBC commentator received €1.13m (about £950,000) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany, which was paid into a business account used as his “piggy bank” for his personal expenses.
He was found guilty of transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and ex-wife Sharlely ‘Lilly’ Becker, the mother of his fourth child.
Becker also spent 48,000 euros (around £40,000) on ankle surgery at a private clinic, paid 12,500 euros (over £10,000) to a private jet company and spent 6,000 euros (around £5,000 £) at a luxury golf resort in China.
He was also found guilty of failing to declare property in Germany and concealing an 825,000 euro (nearly £700,000) bank loan and shares in a technology company.
He was acquitted of 20 other counts, including nine counts of not presenting trophies and medals from his tennis career.
He told jurors he did not know where the memorabilia was, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies, including the 1985 title that shot him to stardom at the age of 17 years.
Other awards were his 1992 Olympic gold medal, the 1991 and 1996 Australian Open trophies, the 1985 and 1989 President’s Cup, his 1989 Davis Cup trophy and a gold coin of the Davis Cup which he won in 1988.
Becker has been cleared of failing to declare a second German ownership, as well as his interest in the £2.5million Chelsea flat occupied by his daughter Anna Ermakova, which was conceived during the infamous meeting of Becker with waitress Angela Ermakova at London restaurant Nobu in 1999.
Giving evidence, Becker said he had earned a “large sum” during his career, paying cash for a family home in Munich, a property in Miami, Florida, and the estate in Mallorca, which was worth around 50 million euros at the height of the real estate market.
But Becker, who later coached current world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, worked as a commentator and brand ambassador for companies such as Puma, said his earnings had “decreased considerably” after his retirement in 1999.
He said he was involved in an “expensive divorce” from Barbara Becker in 2001, which involved high maintenance payments to their two sons, and had to support Ms Ermakova and her mother in a deal which included the apartment of Chelsea.
Becker, who resided in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before moving to the UK, said he had “expensive lifestyle commitments”, including his £22,000-a-month rented house in Wimbledon, Australia. South West London.
He also owed the Swiss authorities five million francs (around £4 million) and separately just under a million euros (over £800,000) in debt following a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.
The court heard Becker’s bankruptcy stemmed from a €4.6m (about £3.85m) loan from private bank Arbuthnot Latham in 2013, and £1.2m , with an interest rate of 25%, borrowed from British businessman John Caudwell, who founded Phones 4u, the following year.
He said bad publicity hurt the “Becker brand”, meaning he struggled to make enough money to pay off his debts, while his QC Jonathan Laidlaw said that at the time of bankruptcy, Becker was too “confident and dependent” on his advisers.
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