Six-time Grand Slam tennis champion Boris Becker has been sentenced to two years and six months in jail in London.
The 54-year-old German national, a former world No. 1 who has lived in the UK since 2012, was declared bankrupt in 2017 and convicted earlier this year on four charges under the UK's Insolvency Act, including concealing hundreds of thousands of euros and assets from investigators.
Since retiring from tennis in 1999, Becker has worked predominantly as a commentator and pundit in the United Kingdom for the BBC, but his earnings from the sport, estimated at about €45.2 million ($47.7 million), were swallowed up by an expensive divorce, child maintenance payments and "lifestyle commitments."
Faced with demands to hand over assets to settle his debts under the terms of his bankruptcy, Becker was acquitted of charges that he had hidden his trophy collection, but was found guilty of failing to declare six-figure money transfers to family members, a property in his hometown of Leimen, Baden-Württemberg, and 75,000 shares in a tech company.
'Hopeless case' at managing money
Jonathan Laidlaw, defending, had tried to absolve Becker from blame, describing his client as a "hopeless case" when it comes to managing his money and instead blaming financial advisers who had managed Becker's affairs in a "chaotic" manner.
But Rebecca Chalkley, prosecuting, told jurors that Becker had given bankruptcy officials the "runaround." She added: "The obligations and duties were with him."
As early as 2002, Becker was handed a suspended sentence by a court in Munich after being found guilty of tax evasion.
While awaiting sentencing on Friday, he received support from the president of the German Tennis Federation (DTB), Dietloff von Arnim, who said Becker had brought "indisputably outstanding successes" to German tennis, wishing him "all the best" and adding:
"We stand faithfully by the side of our tennis icon."