Hiding assets doesn’t pay off for Becker

Former Wimbledon tennis champion Boris Becker has been jailed for hiding assets worth more than £2.5 million after being declared bankrupt.

In April, the tennis ace was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act in London and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

The charges included failing to disclose, concealing, and removing significant assets following his bankruptcy.

Despite being found guilty of these charges, Becker was acquitted at the trial of 20 other counts, including charges that he failed to hand over other assets, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal.

Under the terms of the bankruptcy order, the six-time grand slam champion had been under an obligation to provide full disclosure of his worldwide assets.

However, he was convicted of failing to declare a property in Germany, hiding an 825,000-euro (almost £700,000) bank loan and 75,000 shares in a Canadian technology firm valued at £66,000.

In 2002, Becker was handed a two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion worth €1.7m (about £1.4m) in Germany.

The judge commented at the London trial, that he had paid no heed to that warning and had failed to learn from the lesson of having been given only a suspended sentence.

The judge’s words were echoed by the prosecution team, one of whom commented that Becker had acted deliberately and dishonestly at his London trial.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Insolvency Service said that Becker’s sentence demonstrates that concealing assets in bankruptcy is a serious offence for which the Service will prosecute and bring offenders to justice.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Prosecutions such as this are very rare, often because they are expensive, and the Insolvency Service has limited resources.

For that reason, an increasing number of creditors are resorting to private prosecutions as a means by which to obtain compensation directly from those whose dishonest conduct has caused them financial loss and who then declare themselves bankrupt to evade justice.

Forensic accountants, play a vital role in such proceedings, and can not only help with asset tracing but also by explaining complex financial transactions to lay members of a jury.”

Posted in Blog, Forensic, The Forensic Blog.