Former tennis great, jailed for hiding assets after declaring bankruptcy, to be deported
German tennis star Boris Becker has been freed from a British prison and will be deported from the country, PA Media reported on Thursday.
Britain’s Ministry of Justice confirmed he had been released. The Home Office did not immediately respond to comment when asked about his deportation.
The 55-year-old six-time Grand Slam champion was jailed in April for two years and six months by a London court for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds of assets after he was declared bankrupt.
He had previously been convicted of tax evasion in Germany in 2002, for which he received a suspended prison sentence.
The former tennis great won his first Wimbledon final in 1985 at age 17, becoming the youngest and first unseeded player to claim the men’s singles title. He went on to two win more Wimbledon titles.
Becker had denied all the charges in relation to the London court proceedings, saying he had cooperated with the bankruptcy proceedings — even offering up his wedding ring — and had relied on his advisers.
He was originally required to serve at least 15 months of his sentence but reportedly received an early release as part of a programme designed to ease pressure on Britain’s overcrowded prisons.
Nicknamed “Boom, Boom” for his ferocious serve, Becker won 49 singles titles and had career earnings of $50 million.
He retired from playing in 1999 but remained a high-profile figure in the game with a commentary job for the BBC, before switching paths to coach Novak Djokovic to six Grand Slam titles between 2014 and 2016.
But despite the riches he earned during his career, he was declared bankrupt in 2017.
In April, Becker was found guilty of concealing £2.5 million ($3 million) worth of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.
Becker’s tangled private life has kept him in the headlines, including a daughter conceived in a brief but now famous encounter with a Russian woman at a London restaurant in 1999 while his then wife, Barbara, was pregnant.
He divorced Barbara in 2001 and married Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg eight years later in a high-profile event in Switzerland that was broadcast on German television, but the couple separated in 2018
His financial woes also kept him under the media spotlight.
In 2002, a court in Munich sentenced Becker to a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined him for tax evasion.
He was declared bankrupt in 2017 over money owned to Arbuthnot Latham bank.
In a surprising twist, he claimed he was entitled to diplomatic immunity from legal proceedings because of his role as a sporting ambassador for the Central African Republic but abandoned that attempt.
His barrister, Jonathan Laidlaw, said at the time of the bankruptcy he was too “trusting and reliant” on his advisers.
While sentencing Becker to time behind bars then, Judge Deborah Taylor said he had lost his “career and reputation”.
She said that while he had doubtlessly been humiliated by the proceedings, “there has been no humility”.