Boris Becker: 'I was treated so harshly because I'm so famous'
Boris Becker: ‘I was treated so harshly because I’m so famous’ says tennis legend as he hits out at ‘brutal’ justice system
- Shamed tennis star told of his time behind bars after he was jailed for two and a half years having been found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act
- The 55-year-old declared bankrupt in 2017 but hid £2.5m of assets to avoid debt
- He claims his jail sentence was down to winning Wimbledon at young age of 17
Shamed German tennis legend Boris Becker has told of his time inside two ‘brutal’ British jails – but failed to take responsibility for the bankruptcy fraud that put him there.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Becker said he wouldn’t have been dealt with as harshly ‘if my name was Peter Smith and I [hadn’t] won Wimbledon at 17’. He also blamed his advisers and even criticised jurors for being too young to understand his case.
The three-times Wimbledon champion, 55, was declared bankrupt in 2017 but hid £2.5 million of assets to avoid paying his debts. He was jailed for two and a half years last April after being found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act.
Becker, who’s been married twice, also offered a startling warning to Prince Harry: ‘Don’t forget where you come from, because you may have to go back there. And marriages don’t always last forever, last time I checked.’
The first part of Becker’s sentence was served at London’s HMP Wandsworth, which he described as ‘a s***hole’. While there, he taught maths and English to other inmates, allowing him to spend five hours a day out of his cell, which he liked because ‘inside the cell, you die’.
Becker said he wouldn’t have been dealt with as harshly ‘if my name was Peter Smith and I [hadn’t] won Wimbledon at 17’
He was later transferred to Huntercombe Prison in Oxfordshire, where he was ‘surrounded by murderers, drug dealers, people smugglers’. He added: ‘The British justice system is brutal.’
Becker had the support of some famous friends while he was inside. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wanted to visit but was blocked because the prison feared for his safety. World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic gave Becker’s girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro free tickets to his matches.
When Becker was sentenced at London’s Southwark Crown Court, Judge Deborah Taylor said he had shown ‘no remorse [and] no humility’.
But talking of his crime now, Becker said: ‘It was naivety, it was bad advice. But it wasn’t bad intention. Should I have better advisers? Yes. We all struggle with our taxes. And the more money you have, the more complicated it gets. The jurors… half of them were under 30. I don’t think they truly understood what this case was really about.’
Becker was released from jail in December after less than eight months and deported to Germany. He now lives in Munich.
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