Boris Becker trial:

Boris Becker trial:

 

 

Boris Becker “acted dishonestly” when he failed to hand over trophies, including two Wimbledon titles, to settle his debts, a court has heard.

 

The former tennis champion, 54, was declared bankrupt in June 2017 after borrowing £3.5m from a bank, it heard.

 

He is accused of hiding, or failing to hand over, assets before and after his bankruptcy, and stands charged with 24 counts under the Insolvency Act.

 

 

Mr Becker denies all charges. The trial is set to last up to three weeks.

 

The jury of 11 men and one woman was instructed to ignore Boris Becker’s celebrity at the start of the trial at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.

 

 

Judge Deborah Taylor told them to “leave aside anything you have heard or any preconceptions about this case, including anything about this defendant, and start with a blank page”.

 

 

She cautioned: “You must ignore this defendant’s celebrity and treat him in exactly the same way you would treat someone you have not heard of and is not in the public eye.”

 

 

The former world number one, who commentated for the BBC at Wimbledon last year, is accused of concealing €1.13m (£945,000) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany and of transferring funds to other bank accounts.

 

 

He also allegedly failed to declare two German properties, as well as his interest in a flat in Chelsea, west London, and is alleged to have hidden a €825,000 (£690,000) bank loan.

 

 

‘Playing the system’

“It is the prosecution case that Mr Becker acted dishonestly with regards to a number of his assets, that in various ways he effectively hid from, or made unavailable to, those responsible for identifying the assets,” said prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley.

 

 

“The prosecution say Mr Becker did this both before and after the date of his bankruptcy agreement by not disclosing, not providing, or delivering up, or removing assets or things of value.”

 

 

The assets he is alleged to have concealed include his 1985 and 1989 Wimbledon men’s singles title, Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996 and his 1992 Olympic gold medal.

 

 

The prosecution is being brought by the Insolvency Service on behalf of Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. The charges refer to a period between May and October 2017.

 

 

Mr Becker, wearing a dark suit and white shirt, sat in the dock next to a German translator who is assisting him during the trial.

 

Judge Taylor said it was not suggested that Becker “does not speak English” but he may need help with “technical vocabulary such as legal concepts”.

 

The 24 charges comprise:

 

Nine counts of failing to deliver up trophies and other awards;

Seven counts of concealing property totalling more than €1.5m

Five counts of failing to disclose estate, including the properties in Germany and London, shares and a bank account

Two of removal of property amounting to almost €500,000

One of concealing €825,000 of debt

“There is a consistent policy throughout the history of bankruptcy legislation, which goes back hundreds of years, that bankrupts who play the system, act in bad faith, should be punished and that, in short is what the prosecution say Mr Becker did here,” said Ms Chalkley.

 

“The issues boil down to everyday issues of dishonesty and knowledge. That is what we say is at the heart of this case,” the prosecutor told the jury on Monday.

 

 

The trial continues.

 

 

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