London: Tennis star Boris Becker was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on Friday for illegally moving substantial sums of money and concealing assets once he was declared bankrupt.
The three-time Wimbledon winner was convicted earlier this month on four Insolvency Act counts, with a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. After hearing arguments from both the prosecutor and Becker’s attorney, Judge Deborah Taylor handed down the sentence.
Upon his June 2017 bankruptcy, the 54-year-old German was discovered to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds (dollars) from his business account to other accounts, including that of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.
Becker was also found guilty of failing to register a German home and concealing an 825,000 euro ($871,000) bank loan and shares in a technology firm. In addition, He was acquitted on 20 other counts by the jury in London’s Southwark Crown Court, including claims that he failed to hand over his numerous achievements, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal.
However, the six-time Grand Slam champion has rejected all claims, claiming that he worked with trustees to secure his assets, even giving up his wedding band, and that he followed expert advice.
According to testimony during the trial, Becker’s bankruptcy was caused by a 4.6 million euro ($5 million) loan from a private bank in 2013, as well as a $1.6 million loan from a British businessman the following year.
During the trial, Becker claimed that his $50 million career earnings were wiped out by payments for an “expensive divorce” and debts incurred when he lost substantial parts of his income after retiring.
Becker shot to fame when, at the age of 17, he became the first unseeded player to win the Wimbledon singles title, and went on to become the world’s No. 1 tennis player. Since 2012, he has resided in the United Kingdom.