London (dpa) – Tense, but not scared – this is how Boris Becker recently described his state of mind before the criminal proceedings against him in London. Now the process is getting closer.
Starting Monday, the former tennis star will face charges in a London court for up to three weeks for failing to properly declare some of his assets in his bankruptcy proceedings and failing to hand over trophies. Becker denies it.
There are definitely reasons to be tense: the three-time Wimbledon winner could theoretically face up to seven years in prison.
More than 20 charges
In reality, the creditor contest, which has been going on since 2017, could already be closed. But the saga seems to have no end. The “Bild am Sonntag” told Becker in an interview in February that the last five years had been “damn long” and “the hardest of my life”.
The 54-year-old wants to use the help of a translator for the criminal process. The reason for this is not entirely clear, because the Londoner by choice actually speaks perfect English and has repeatedly appeared as a tennis pundit on BBC television. “If he expresses something, it might be better if he does it in German and then translates it into English,” his defense attorney, Jonathan Laidlaw, said at a preliminary court hearing, according to the PA news agency.
Before the trial began, Becker was unable to comment specifically on the more than 20 charges against the media. However, he is expected to be questioned at length in court. Then “a lot of personal stuff” would come up, his attorney had announced, according to PA. Among other things, according to the indictment, Becker is said to have transferred part of his estate to his ex-partners Barbara, 55, and Lilly, 45, and thereby withdrew the receiver’s access. Another issue could be missing trophies. Becker had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
tennis socks up for auction
The bankruptcy administrator had already auctioned off some of his trophies and other personal belongings in the summer of 2019. Including even the former elite athlete’s tennis socks. Becker was deeply affected. “This auction is all about hurting me personally, because of course I am emotionally attached to the trophies,” Becker once said of the “Bild am Sonntag.”
Some of the bankruptcy proceedings were characterized by strange twists and turns. For a time, Becker claimed that he could not be prosecuted for being a diplomat from the Central African Republic. In fact, he was listed on the website of the country’s embassy in Brussels as “attached to raise funds for sports, cultural and humanitarian affairs.” The ambassador there agreed with him. But several members of the bitterly poor country’s government disagreed. Finally, Becker abandoned the controversial argument.
So far in the criminal proceedings there are no signs that Becker, who is always known to be stubborn on the tennis court, may give up. “If everything goes against me, I have a problem. But I am a person who never gives up and always fights to the end,” the former world number one said in February.