herald

Tuesday 25 July 2017

'Head in the sand' former Wimbledon champion Becker made bankrupt

Boris Becker recently coached top tennis star Novak Djokovic. Photo: AFP/Getty
Boris Becker recently coached top tennis star Novak Djokovic. Photo: AFP/Getty

Boris Becker has been declared bankrupt after the former tennis player failed to pay a long-standing debt.

A lawyer for the six-time Grand Slam champion yesterday pleaded with a court in London for a last chance to pay a debt that Becker has owed to private bankers Arbuthnot Latham and Co since 2015.

The registrar, Christine Derrett, said there was a lack of credible evidence that his debt would be paid soon. She refused to adjourn the case for a further 28 days and announced a bankruptcy order.

"One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand," said the registrar, who said she watched Becker play on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Becker (49), who was born in Germany and lives in London, recently coached Novak Djokovic and has been a TV commentator for the BBC.

His lawyer, John Briggs, had argued there was sufficient evidence to show that Becker would be able to pay the debt through a refinancing arrangement, involving remortgaging a property in Mallorca, which was expected to raise €6m (£5.3m).

Mr Briggs said it was expected the deal would be approved by a Spanish bank in about a month.

He also said Becker was "not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances", and that bankruptcy was likely to have an adverse effect on his image.

"He should have thought about that a long time ago," the registrar said.

Order

Matthew Abraham, appearing for Arbuthnot Latham, argued there was a lack of credible evidence before the court to back up Becker's claims that the remortgaging of his property would go ahead soon and allow him to pay his debts.

The evidence was only coming in the form of instructions from Becker to his latest legal team.

Credible evidence should have been put in at an earlier stage and it was now not good enough to ask for an extra 28 days, added Mr Abraham.

Agreeing to make a bankruptcy order, the judge said: "I am not persuaded on the evidence before me that it can be described as credible evidence."

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