Boris Becker denies giving officials the ‘runaround’ over missing trophies

Becker, who won 49 singles titles in 77 finals, denies dozens of charges under the Insolvency Act

Former Wimbledon Champion and sports commentator Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on March 24. EPA

Six-time Grand Slam tennis champion Boris Becker has denied giving bankruptcy officials the “runaround” over missing trophies.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the tennis star, 54, is accused of failing to hand over awards after he was declared bankrupt in June 2017.

During proceedings on Monday, Becker was asked by prosecutor Rebecca Chalkey if he had given the trustee of bankruptcy “the runaround” to try to conceal the prizes.

“You reportedly claimed that you didn’t know where the missing trophies were. That’s simply not true Mr Becker, is it?” Ms Chalkey said.

“You gave him the runaround."

But the former player, who has also worked as a BBC commentator and a brand ambassador for companies including Puma, said: “That’s not correct.”

Becker, who won 49 singles titles in 77 finals over 16 years, denies 24 charges under the Insolvency Act.

Some of his trophies were auctioned off for £700,000 ($918,000) to pay his debts and he has made various appeals to try to find them, the court heard.

Major tennis associations, halls of fame and museums are among the places that have been contacted, but Becker said he was “not in a better position today” to say where they were.

The prizes include two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies, his 1992 Olympic gold medal, Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996, the President’s Cup from 1985 and 1989, his 1989 Davis Cup trophy and a Davis Cup gold coin which he won in 1988.

Becker is also accused of hiding €1.13 million ($1.24m) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany.

The money is said to have been paid into his Boris Becker Private Office business account, which he used as a “piggy bank” to pay personal expenses such as his children’s school fees, the court was told.

Former Wimbledon Champion and sports commentator Boris Becker arrives with his partner Lilian de Carvalho at Southwark Crown Court in London, on March 24. Becker is in court after declaring bankruptcy. EPA

Becker is also said to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds to other accounts, including those of his former wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

He also allegedly failed to declare two German properties, as well as his interest in a £2.25m flat in Chelsea, west London, occupied by his daughter Anna Ermakova, and hid an €825,000 bank loan and shares in a tech company.

Becker, who is being supported in court by his partner Lilian de Carvalho, has a previous conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002, the court was told.

Jurors previously heard his bankruptcy resulted from a €4.6m loan from private bank Arbuthnot Latham in 2013, and £1.2m with a 25 per cent interest rate, borrowed from British businessman John Caudwell the following year.

The court heard the former world number one earned a “vast amount” of money, winning about $50m in prize money and sponsorship deals.

But Becker, who went on to coach current tennis star Novak Djokovic, said his earnings “reduced dramatically” after his retirement in 1999.

He said he was involved in an “expensive divorce” from Barbara Becker in 2001, involving high maintenance payments to their two sons, and had to support his daughter Anna and her mother in a deal that included the Chelsea flat.

German national Becker, who was resident in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before moving to the UK in 2012, said he had “expensive lifestyle commitments”.

He also owed the Swiss authorities 5m francs ($5.2m) and just under €1m in liabilities over the convictions in Germany in 2002.

Updated: April 04, 2022, 10:23 PM