Ex-tennis star Becker denies charges at bankruptcy-related case

By Larissa Schwedes, dpa

Former tennis professional Boris Becker denied all allegations of failing to cooperate with a bankruptcy authority at a court appearance in London on Thursday.

The 52-year-old, who wore a face mask and dark grey suit, pleaded “not guilty” to all 28 counts when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court for the 45-minute procedural hearing.

He also stated that he understood that an arrest warrant would be issued if he absconded while on bail. He was ordered to notify the authorities about his travels and deposit his passport with lawyers.

The Insolvency Office accuses Becker of not coopeperating enough in connection with his bankruptcy proceedings.

The three-time Wimbledon winner and six-time Grand Slam champion vehemently denies this.

The trial date was set for September 2021 and could run for up to four weeks. If convicted, Becker could face up to seven years in prison.

Items that he was charged with failing to disclose according to the indictment included the 1985 Wimbledon trophy he lifted after winning the tournament at age 17, his 1989 Wimbledon silverware, and the Australian Open trophies from wins in 1991 and 1996.

He was also charged with concealing more than 1 million pounds (1.3 million dollars) in different bank accounts, as well as
several properties including a flat in Chelsea.

Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said the case was about large sums of money that had been concealed, while Becker’s counsel Jonathan Caplan said Becker wss “determined to face and contest these charges and restore his reputation in relation to the allegations
made against him.”

Becker, a German national, was declared insolvent by a British court in 2017.

Bankruptcy proceedings in Britain can be completed after just one year. In Becker’s case, however, the bankruptcy conditions were extended by 12 years, meaning he must submit to certain restrictions until October 16, 2031.

The reason is that Becker is thought not to have properly reported transactions from the time before and after the insolvency proceedings.

Thursday’s court appearance concerned similar allegations. The insolvency authorities are now conducting criminal investigations into Becker because he is said to have not worked with the authorities as the requirements stipulate.

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