Tennis star Boris Becker jailed for two-and-a-half years over bankruptcy charges

ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie reports on Boris Beckers remarkable fall from grace

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for hiding £2.5million worth of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts. The former world number one, 54, was declared bankrupt on June 21 2017, owing creditors almost £50m, over an unpaid loan of more than £3m on his estate in Mallorca, Spain. BBC commentator Becker transferred almost 427,000 euros (around £390,000) from his business account to others, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker. The father-of-four also failed to declare his share in a £1m property in his home town of Leimen, Germany, hid an 825,000 euro (almost £700,000) bank loan – worth £1.1m with interest – and concealed 75,000 shares in a tech firm, valued at £66,000.

Judge Deborah Taylor sentenced the six-time Grand Slam champion to two-and-a-half years imprisonment, of which he will serve half, at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

Boris Becker arriving at an earlier hearing at Southwark Crown Court. Credit: PA

“I take into account what has been described as your fall from grace," the judge said.

“You have lost your career and reputation and all of your property as a result of your bankruptcy.”

But she added: “You have not shown remorse, acceptance of your guilt and have sought to distance yourself from your offending and your bankruptcy.

“While I accept your humiliation as part of the proceedings, there has been no humility.”

Becker, wearing a striped tie in the Wimbledon colours of purple and green, showed no emotion before being taken down to the cells.

  • 'A fall from grace': Boris Becker timeline- from Grand Slam champion to conviction

Ever since July 8, 1985, when he went from being an unseeded 17-year-old to the youngest male tennis player to win a Wimbledon final, Boris Becker was bound to be remembered as a tennis great.

Over his illustrious 15-year career, he went on to win 49 singles titles in 77 finals.

But Becker admitted to struggling to carve a new identity for himself after his retirement in 1999.

Boris Becker, 17, holds the Wimbledon trophy aloft after defeating South Africa's Kevin Curren in 1985. Credit: AP

“In sport, you’re called old when you are 31. It affects your confidence and self-belief," he said at the time.

"It took me a couple of years to redefine myself."

In the ensuing years, the adored athlete, once nicknamed “Boom Boom” for his powerful serve, had his private life poured over in countless newspaper headlines.

These included around his divorce from first wife, Barbara, and the paternity suit launched against him by former model Angela Ermakova, with whom he has a daughter called Anna.

In 2001, Angela Ermakova arrives at the High Court in London for a private hearing relating to her child fathered by Boris Becker. Credit: PA

He then began to face questions about his finances in 2002, when a court in Munich sentenced him to a two-year suspended prison sentence for tax evasion of about €1.7m.

The charges he has faced include removing property, two counts of failing to disclose estate, and concealing debt.

Judge Deborah Taylor released Becker on conditional bail ahead of his sentencing on Friday, to which he was accompanied by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.

Boris Becker arrives alongside partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court. Credit: PA

The court was previously told the BBC commentator received 1.13 million euros (about £950,000) from the sale of his Mercedes car dealership in Germany.

Proceeds of the sale were then paid into a business account used as his “piggy bank” for personal expenses.

He was found guilty of transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker, the mother of his fourth child.

Becker also spent 48,000 euros (around £40,000) on an ankle operation at a private clinic, paid 12,500 euros (more than £10,000) to a private jet company, and splashed out 6,000 euros (around £5,000) at a luxury golf resort in China.

He was also convicted of failing to declare a property in Germany, and hiding an 825,000 euros (almost £700,000) bank loan and shares in a tech firm.

He was acquitted of a further 20 charges, including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and medals from his tennis career.

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