Boris Becker: Former Wimbledon champion jailed in UK for two and a half years

Disgraced Wimbledon champ Boris Becker will stay behind bars for years after a UK court found him guilty of hiding millions on dollars in assets.Former tennis star Boris Becker has been jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty by a British court of charges relating to his 2017 bankruptcy.He had denied breaking UK insolvency laws following his bankruptcy which led him to owe creditors almost GBP50 million ($A88m). In total, Becker hid GBP2.5m ($4.4m) in assets to avoid paying his debts. The German star won Wimbledon three times in the late 1980s and the Australian Open twice, including in 1996 which was his last major trophy.Earlier this month, he was found guilty of four charges under the UK’s Insolvency Act and cleared of 20 other counts. His sentence was handed down on Friday, UK time, in London. Judge: ‘Humilated, but no humility’Sentencing him, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “The obligation was on you to disclose these assets but you did not.“I take into account your fall from grace. You’ve lost your career, reputation and all your properties.“However, you have shown no remorse,” The Sun reported Judge Taylor as saying. “While I accept the humiliation you may have felt as a result of these proceedings, there has been no humility.”His lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw pleased for a lenient sentence. “Boris Becker has literally nothing and there is nothing to show for what was the most glittering of sporting careers.“It is nothing short of a tragedy. His fall is not simply a fall from grace, it is the public humiliation of this man,” he said. “These proceedings have destroyed his career and totally ended any prospect of earning an income.“His reputation is in tatters. He will have to rely on the charity of others.”Becker hid millionsBecker told the jury how his $US50m ($A70m) career earnings were swallowed up by an expensive divorce from his first wife Barbara Becker, child maintenance payments and “expensive lifestyle commitments”. After his playing career, he went on to coach current world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, work as a TV sports commentator and act as a brand ambassador for firms including Puma. But he said his income “reduced dramatically” following his retirement in 1999.In June 2017, the former world number one went bust due to an unpaid loan of 3 million euros ($A4.45m) on his Spanish estate. In total he owed creditors almost GBP50m ($88.5m).Becker then transferred 427,000 euros ($A634,000) from his business accounts to personal accounts including his ex-wife. He also failed to declare a 1.2 million ($A1.8m) euro property in Germany, a bank loan that totalled around $A1.6m and other assets including shareholdings that could have been used towards his debts, reported Sky Sports UK. He told jurors during the trial he did not know the whereabouts of his memorabilia, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies. Becker, who has lived in Britain since 2012, said he had co-operated with trustees trying to secure his assets, even offering his wedding ring, and relied on the advisers who managed his life away from tennis.He also owed the Swiss authorities five million francs ($A7.4m) and separately just under one million euros ($A1.5m) in liabilities over a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002. Mr Laidlaw said at the time of his bankruptcy that Becker was too “trusting and reliant” on his advisers.Becker clutched a Puma duffel bag packed with clothes and belongings for his time behind bars and spoke only to confirm his name during his sentencing hearing yesterdayOriginally published as Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker jailed in Britain for two and a half years