Becker offered wedding ring to pay off debts, court hears

Issued on: 23/03/2022 – 21:50

London (AFP) – Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker offered up his wedding ring as he tried to pay off his debts, a London court heard on Wednesday on the third day of the German’s trial on charges relating to his bankruptcy.

The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, also wanted to sell his 10 million euro ($11 million, £8.3 million) estate in Mallorca, Spain, in a bid to overturn his bankruptcy, a jury was told.

The former world number one is accused of hiding or failing to hand over assets, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles titles and his 1992 Olympic gold medal.

Becker was declared bankrupt in June 2017, owing private bank Arbuthnot Latham more than £3 million for a loan on the Balearic island property known as the Finca.

Southwark Crown Court heard Becker was interviewed at his home in Wimbledon in July 2017 by Michael Bint, a deputy official receiver at the Insolvency Service.

Bint agreed with Becker’s barrister, Jonathan Laidlaw, that the commentator “was being cooperative” during the hour-long conversation conducted in rushed circumstances because he was working for the BBC at the nearby tennis tournament.

“He offered to let you walk around the house in Wimbledon to see what was there, he volunteered an expensive wedding ring to you,” said Laidlaw.

“His overriding concern was to seek an annulment of the bankruptcy, to pay the debt, by the sale of the Finca, to Arbuthnot Latham.”

Bint admitted he had failed to get Becker to sign a preliminary information questionnaire document – the only time he has done so in hundreds of cases since 2007.

“Mr Becker had to simply run away to go to Wimbledon,” he said. “Normally I would ask for a signed copy.”

As well as failing to offer up memorabilia, including Becker’s 1991 and 1996 Australian Open trophies and his Davis Cup trophy and gold coin, he also allegedly hid 1.13 million euro from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany.

The money is said to have been paid into his business account.

Jurors have heard this was used as his own “piggy bank” to pay personal expenses, such as his children’s school fees, and to shop at luxury London department stores

Becker 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 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 bank loan.

Becker, who won 49 singles titles during his 16-year playing career, denies all the charges against him.