Former tennis legend Boris Becker was sentenced Friday to two and a half years in prison for illicitly transferring large sums of money and hiding assets after filing for bankruptcy. The three-time Wimbledon champion was convicted earlier this month of four counts under the Bankruptcy Act and faced a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.
Judge Deborah Taylor announced the sentence after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defense. The 54-year-old German was convicted of transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars from his business account to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and his wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker, after his June 2017 bankruptcy.
Becker was also convicted of failing to declare property in Germany and concealing an 825,000 euro ($871,000) bank loan and shares in a technology company.
The jury at Sothwark Royal Court in London acquitted him of 20 other charges, including failing to award his prizes, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal. Dressed in a purple and green striped tie of Wimbledon, he entered the court hand in hand with his girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.
The six-time grand slam champion has denied all charges, saying he cooperated with trustees seizing his assets, including offering his wedding ring, and acted on expert advice. During Friday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said Becker acted “deliberately and dishonestly” and that he “continues to try to blame others.”
His defense attorney Jonathan Laidlaw pleaded for leniency, saying his client had not spent money on a “luxury lifestyle” but on child support, rent and legal fees. Becker, he told the court, has suffered from “public humiliation” and has no potential for future earnings.
Becker’s bankruptcy case stems from a 4.6 million euro ($5 million) bank loan in 2013, as well as 1.6 million he borrowed from a British businessman a year later, according to testimony during the hearing. judgment. During the trial, Becker said the $50 million he earned in his career went into payments for an “expensive divorce” and debts when he lost large sums of his retirement income.
Becker rose to stardom in 1985 at the age of 17, when he became the first unseeded player to win the Wimbles title and subsequently rose to number one in the world rankings. He has lived in Britain since 2012.