Boris Becker, the former tennis great, will find out on Friday if he faces a hefty prison sentence after a British court found him guilty of charges related to his 2017 bankruptcy.
The six-time Grand Slam winner, 54, was found guilty of transferring large sums of money from his company account, failing to report a house in Germany, and hiding debt and shares in a software firm totaling 825,000 euros ($866,500).
However, he was cleared of a further 20 allegations at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month, including nine counts of neglecting to give over trophies and medals he collected throughout his illustrious tennis career.
He told jurors he had no idea where the memorabilia, which included two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles titles, had gone.
Judge Deborah Taylor granted Becker conditional bail ahead of her sentence hearing on Friday at the south London court. Becker won Wimbledon as an unseeded teenager.
The former world number one told the jury how a costly divorce from his first wife Barbara Becker, child maintenance payments, and “expensive lifestyle obligations” ate away his $50 million ($40 million) career earnings.
When Becker was declared bankrupt in June 2017 for an outstanding debt of more than pound sterling3 million on his Mallorca villa, he stated he was “shocked” and “embarrassed.”
The German, who has resided in the United Kingdom since 2012, claimed he worked with trustees to preserve his assets, including offering his wedding ring, and depended on experts to handle his life outside of tennis.
However, the former star was found guilty of four crimes under the Insolvency Act, despite the fact that his spouse Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro and eldest son Noah were there in court to support him.
Becker testified that he made a “significant amount” of money throughout his work and that he paid cash for multiple residences.
However, following his retirement in 1999, the German, who went on to train current world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, work as a TV sports pundit, and serve as a brand ambassador for companies such as Puma, claimed his income “decreased considerably.”
Becker, who lived in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before migrating to the UK, said his financial obligations included a leased residence in Wimbledon, south-west London, that cost him £22,000 per month.
He also owed the Swiss authorities five million francs ($5.1 million) and a separate liability of just under one million euros stemming from a conviction in Germany for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in 2002.
He said that negative press had harmed his “brand Becker,” causing him to struggle to pay off his obligations.
Becker was too “trusting and reliant” on his advice, according to his lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw, at the time of his bankruptcy.
Becker, who had a shock of strawberry-blond hair, shocked the tennis world when he won Wimbledon’s men’s singles title at the age of 17 in 1985 and repeated the feat the following year.
For his vicious serve, Becker earned the nickname “Boom Boom” and won Wimbledon for the third time in 1989.
During his illustrious career, he won the Australian Open twice and the US Open once, rising to the top of the global rankings in 1991.
After retiring, Becker pursued a high-profile position on the BBC as a commentator, but he returned to the court in 2013 as Djokovic’s coach, helping the Serb win six more Grand Slam titles before the duo parted ways in 2016.