stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Boris Becker's battle against bankruptcy
space
Tennis great finds managing money harder than winning slams
space
By PAUL WALDIE
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Monday, June 18, 2018 – Page B12

LONDON -- Boris Becker gained fame on the tennis court for his booming serve, six Grand Slam titles and stunning victory at Wimbledon at the tender age of 17. But off the court, Becker has been far less adept at managing his money and he's now locked in a legal battle with creditors who are owed more than $80million.

Becker's financial woes stem from a series of bad investments and a history of poor judgment that has left him buried in debt and facing the humiliation of watching bankruptcy trustees sell off some of his prized trophies from Wimbledon, the U.S.

Open and the Davis Cup.

The German tennis great now lives in London and he was pushed into bankruptcy last year by a High Court judge who chastised him for having "his head in the sand" when it came to paying bills. Since then, more creditors have surfaced, including Becker's former business adviser, HansDieter Cleven, who is owed 36million ($55-million). In total, Becker's liabilities stand at around £50-million ($87.5-million), while his assets amount to less than £500,000, according to court filings. That's a stunning financial fall for someone believed to have pocketed about £100-million from his 15-year playing career.

Becker hasn't been taking this lightly. He's pushed back at the creditor claims and last week he took the bizarre step of invoking diplomatic immunity to try to stop the bankruptcy proceedings.

Becker told the court that the Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries on Earth, had named him an attaché at the European Union for sport, culture and humanitarian affairs.

According to Becker, the post shields him from all lawsuits unless the CAR consents.

In a statement, he said the bankruptcy process had "inflicted a whole heap of damage on me."

"I have now asserted diplomatic immunity as I am in fact bound to do so, in order to bring this farce to an end, so that I can start to rebuild my life," he added. "Once this gravy train for the suits has been stopped in its tracks, my lawyers will turn to the question of compensation. I will be coming after the people who forced this process through to hold them publically accountable for their actions."

His newfound ambassadorship hasn't impressed the courtappointed bankruptcy trustees who've been trying to find, and sell, Becker's assets to raise money for creditors. They said Becker has frustrated the bankruptcy process by withholding information about his holdings.

"Despite allowing Mr. Becker a number of opportunities to cooperate satisfactorily and provide information to the trustees, during the course of our appointment, he has failed to do this," said Mark Ford, one of the trustees. "We welcome Mr. Becker's appointment to promote sport in the Central African Republic.

However, we believe that it has no material impact on Mr Becker's bankruptcy."

The trustees have already started unloading some of Becker's cherished mementoes. Last week, they put 81 items up for sale on an online auction site run by Wyles Hardy & Co. The items included miniature trophies Becker received after each of his three Wimbledon victories, as well as the tray he won for finishing runner-up in 1995.

Also for sale are Becker's medals for making the semi-final at Wimbledon in 1993 and 1994; and replica trophies he received for winning the U.S. Open in 1989 and the Davis Cup in 1988.

Bidders can also buy a selection of Becker's watches, including a "Top Gun Wrist Watch"; or bid on T-shirts, socks, a tennis racquet and even a pair of shoes he wore while winning the Australian Open in 1996. The auction is open until June 28 and some of the trophies have generated bids in excess of £10,000.

Becker's financial problems go beyond the bankruptcy. In May, he split with his second wife, Dutch model Lilly Kerssenberg, setting up another hefty divorce tab. The couple had been married for nine years and they have an eight-year-old son named Amadeus. Becker's first marriage to Barbara Feltus ended in 2001 after he had a fling in a broom closet at a London restaurant with waitress Angela Ermakova while Feltus was in the hospital about to give birth. Feltus got £10million in the subsequent divorce as well as the couple's condo in Miami and custody of their two children. Becker also had to pay Ermakova around £3-million in child support.

His business interests, too, appear to be souring. German media have reported that Becker has not fared well from several Nigerian oil ventures, and a building project he backed in Dubai collapsed a few years ago. His sports website venture also failed, along with an organic food business. And he's been hampered by a conviction for tax evasion in Germany in 2002 which dried up several business opportunities. That case led to a suspended jail sentence, a £315,000 fine and a bill for 3-million in back taxes and interest.

Then there's his 62-acre mansion in Spain which he's largely abandoned and had to re-mortgage twice to pay bills. The villa has been on the market for years and last month it was taken over by a group of squatters called the "Intergalactic Auxiliary and Rescue Command."

Becker still has enough cachet from tennis career to generate some work. He's a regular commentator on the BBC during Wimbledon and he's a pitchman for PokerStars.com, a Slovenian mobile phone company and a tennis academy in China. He also spent three years as Novak Djokovic's coach and the Serbian won six Grand Slams under the German's tutelage. And despite all the legal tangles over debt, Becker has rejected suggestion he's in dire straits. "It's crazy to think I'm broke," he told a Swiss newspaper last fall. "I have enough national and international deals to earn an income that will allow me to pay my staff on time and carry on my life as normal."


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Paul_Sullivan Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page