May 29th, 2024

Tennis legend Boris Becker discharged from bankruptcy court in England

By Brian Melley, The Associated Press on May 1, 2024.

FILE - Former tennis player Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court, in London, Friday, April 8, 2022. German tennis legend Boris Becker was discharged from bankruptcy court in London after a judge found on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, he had done “all that he reasonably could do” to repay creditors nearly 50 million pounds. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

LONDON (AP) – German tennis legend Boris Becker was discharged from bankruptcy court in London after a judge found Wednesday he had done “all that he reasonably could do” to repay creditors tens of millions of pounds.

Becker fell far short of repaying his creditors in full, but Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Nicholas Briggs said it would be “perverse” not to end the case given the efforts Becker made.

“On the spectrum of bankrupts who range from “˜difficult as possible and doing everything to frustrate the trustee’s inquiries’ to “˜co-operative, providing information and delivering up assets’, Mr. Becker clearly falls on the right side of the line,” Briggs wrote.

Becker, 57, was deported to Germany two years ago after serving 8 months in a London prison for illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding 2.5 million pounds ($3.1 million) in assets after he was declared bankrupt in 2017.

He had been convicted in a London court on four charges under the Insolvency Act, including removal of property, concealing debt and two counts of failing to disclose estate. He was acquitted of 25 other charges, including nine counts of failing to hand over Grand Slam trophies and his Olympic gold medal to bankruptcy trustees.

He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, but was released early under a fast-track deportation program for foreign nationals.

Becker rose to stardom in 1985 at the age of 17 when he became the first unseeded player to win the Wimbledon singles title. He went on to become the world No. 1 player, winning two titles at Wimbledon, two at the Australian Open and one at the U.S. Open.

He retired from professional tennis in 1999 and worked as a coach, television commentator, investor and celebrity poker player.

Becker blamed laziness and bad advice for his financial problems that led him to declare bankruptcy after owing creditors nearly 50 million pounds ($62.5 million) over an unpaid loan of more than 3 million pounds ($3.75 million) on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

Attorney Katie Longstaff said at a High Court hearing last month that the joint trustees did not oppose his effort to end the case but did not support it because he still owed about 42 million pounds ($52.5 million).

Becker’s lawyer, Louis Doyle, said the two sides had reached a settlement that includes a “substantial sum” the tennis great must pay. The agreement “includes the outstanding trophies,” Doyled said, adding Becker “can’t do more than he has done to bring us to this point.”

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