LONDON — Tennis great Boris Becker was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on Friday for illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after he was declared bankrupt.
Three-time Wimbledon Champion was found guilty earlier in the month of four Insolvency Act charges. He had been facing a maximum term of seven years imprisonment.
Judge Deborah Taylor announced the sentence after hearing arguments from both the prosecutor and Becker’s attorney.
The 54-year-old German was found to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds (dollars) after his June 2017 bankruptcy from his business account to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.
Becker was also found guilty of not declaring a German property and concealing a 825,000 Euro ($871,000 bank loan) and shares in an IT company.
Southwark Crown Court in London found him not guilty of twenty other charges. These included the claim that he did not hand over several awards to himself, such as two Wimbledon trophy trophies and an Olympic medal.
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Becker, wearing a striped tie in Wimbledon’s purple and green colors, walked into the courthouse hand in hand with girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.
The six-time Grand Slam champion has denied all the charges, saying he had cooperated with trustees tasked with securing his assets — even offering up his wedding ring — and had acted on expert advice.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said Becker had acted “deliberately and dishonestly” and that he was “still seeking to blame others.”
Defense attorney Jonathan Laidlaw argued for leniency, saying his client hadn’t spent money on a “lavish lifestyle” but rather on child support, rent and legal and business expenses. Becker, he told the court, has experienced “public humiliation” and has no future earnings potential.
Becker’s bankruptcy stemmed from a 4.6 million euro ($5 million) loan from a private bank in 2013, as well as about $1.6 million borrowed from a British businessman the year after, according to testimony at the trial.
During the trial Becker, said his $50 million career earnings had been swallowed up by payments for an “expensive divorce” and debts when he lost large chunks of his income after retirement.
Becker was 17 years old when, at Wimbledon, he won the singles title. Later, he rose to No. 1 ranking. Since 2012, he has been living in Britain.
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