LONDON: Former tennis star Boris Becker could face a prison sentence after being found guilty on Friday of illegally transferring thousands of dollars from a bank account after being declared bankrupt.
A jury in a London court convicted Baker on four counts of bankruptcy law, including removal of assets, concealment of debt and two counts of non-disclosure of assets.
After going bankrupt in June 2017, the German star transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds from his business account to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and ex-wife Shirley ‘Lily’. Baker.
He was also convicted of failing to declare assets in Germany and concealing 825,000 euros ($895,000) of bank loans and shares in a technology company.
He was acquitted of 20 other charges, including failing to hand over several of his awards, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal.
The six-time Grand Slam champion has denied all allegations, saying that he cooperated with trustees charged with securing his assets, even offered his wedding ring, and acted on expert advice. .
According to trial testimony, Baker’s bankruptcy stems from a loan of 4.6 million euros (US$5 million) from a private bank in 2013, as well as about $1.6 million borrowed from a British businessman the following year.
During the trial, 54-year-old Baker said that $50 million in his career earnings was eaten up by an ‘expensive divorce’ and debt payments when he lost most of his earnings after his retirement.
He said he had “expensive lifestyle commitments”, including a house at Wimbledon that cost him £22,000 ($28,800) a month. But he said the bad publicity harmed the “Baker brand”, preventing him from earning enough to pay off his debt.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Baker was released on bail until a sentencing hearing on April 29.
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