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Boris Becker accused of failing to hand over Wimbledon trophies to settle debts

By Ryan Hooper, PA Chief Reporter
·3-min read

Former Grand Slam tennis champion Boris Becker has been accused of failing to hand over trophies – including the 1985 Wimbledon men’s singles title which catapulted the then-unknown 17-year-old to sporting stardom – so they could be sold to settle his debts.

The 52-year-old German national, who was declared bankrupt in June 2017, is accused of not complying with obligations to disclose information.

Trophies listed on a new 28-count indictment include his maiden Wimbledon trophy, his 1989 silverware from the same tournament, and his Australian Open trophies in 1991 and 1996.

He pleaded not guilty to all counts when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London on Thursday morning for a 45-minute hearing.

Boris Becker court case
Former German tennis star Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court (Yui Mok/PA)

Becker, wearing a dark grey suit, blue tie and a black face mask bearing the Puma sports brand motif and the message Stronger Together, spoke to confirm his name, to enter his pleas, and that he understood that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he absconded on bail.

He was told his trial would be listed to take place in September 2021.

Earlier, the retired sportsman and television presenter appeared to take a selfie as he entered the court building, in front of scores of assembled international journalists and photographers.

Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said Becker, who lives in London, may face further charges at a later date.

Defence counsel Jonathan Caplan said: “He (Becker) is determined to face and contest these charges and restore his reputation in relation to the allegations made against him.”

Boris Becker court case
Former German tennis star Boris Becker takes a selfie as he arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London (Yui Mok/PA)

Becker was arraigned on a raft of charges that took more than 15 minutes to read to the court. They included concealing more than £1million held in bank accounts, as well as property both abroad and in the UK.

The court heard that this included a charge that he failed, being bankrupt, to disclose his property interest in Coleherne Court, Chelsea, south-west London.

The indictment also contained similar charges for two properties in his home town of Leimen, between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, in Germany.

Becker is also accused of removing hundreds of thousands of pounds by transferring it to other accounts, including to former wife Barbara Becker, and estranged wife Sharlely ‘Lilly’ Becker.

Boris Becker became the youngest ever Wimbledon champion at the age of 17 in 1985
Boris Becker became the youngest ever Wimbledon champion at the age of 17 in 1985 (PA)

It is also alleged he hid his holding of shares in a firm called Breaking Data Corp.

Becker was released on bail ahead of his trial next year, which is due to last up to four weeks.

The former world number one and six-time Grand Slam champion collected 49 singles titles out of 77 finals during his 16 years as a professional tennis player.

He was picked to enter the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003, and has been a commentator on the BBC and at tennis tournaments around the world.