Becker's tennis trophies 'auctioned off to pay debts', court told

By: AFP
Published: 08:04 PM, 24 Mar, 2022
Becker's tennis trophies 'auctioned off to pay debts', court told
Caption: Trophies won by former tennis world number one Boris Becker were auctioned off for £700,000 ($920,000) to pay his debts.
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Trophies won by former tennis world number one Boris Becker were auctioned off for £700,000 ($920,000) to pay his debts, a British court heard on Thursday.

The six-time Grand Slam champion is accused of failing to hand over nine other awards, including two of his three Wimbledon men's singles trophies and an Olympic gold medal, after he was declared bankrupt in 2017.

The court in London was told Becker felt he was "badly treated" by private bank Arbuthnot Latham, which initiated proceedings over a debt of more than £3 million on a loan on his estate in Mallorca -- part of which was subject to a 25 percent yearly interest rate.

Trustee Mark Ford, one of those tasked with recovering the German's assets, said he had a "tense" relationship with the star, who became "emotional" when talking about trophies he said he had lost control of.

The jury heard that in one conversation with Ford, Becker said: "Mark, do you think, bearing in mind I am now facing criminal charges relating to these trophies, that if I had access to them, I wouldn't have given them to you?"

Becker's barrister, Jonathan Laidlaw, explained the trophies players are allowed to keep are miniature versions of those presented on the tennis court after their victories.

The court heard how some of the 54-year-old's memorabilia was sold off to pay his debts.

"There was an auction which realised something like £700,000," said Laidlaw.

Becker, who won 49 singles titles in his 16-year career, denies 24 charges under the Insolvency Act including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and other awards and seven of concealing property.

As well as failing to offer up memorabilia, including his 1991 and 1996 Australian Open trophies, Becker is accused of hiding 1.13 million euros ($1.25 million) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany.

He is 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.

The court has heard Becker has a previous conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.