When Boris Becker won Wimbledon in 1985 at the age of 17, he became the youngest male winner in the history of the Championship and has held this record ever since. I love his easy charm and wit, and it was not surprising to hear him called Britain’s favorite German.
Like many childhood prodigies thrust into the limelight, after his retirement from tennis in 1999, Boris struggled with his personal relationships and lost much of his estimated fortune of £40 million through divorce settlements and ill-fated investments including bizarre gambling on Nigerian oilfields.
In 2002, Boris was convicted of tax evasion in Germany. This was due to him originally claiming to be a German tax exile by residing in the offshore tax haven of Monaco despite maintaining a permanent residence in Munich.
Boris moved back to Germany in 1994 instead of becoming a tax exile like Michael Schumacher who fled to Switzerland or Franz Beckenbauer who moved to Monaco.
Despite Boris paying back taxes of 6 million Euros, the ruthless German tax authorities pursued him relentlessly in an investigation that lasted from 1996 to 2002. In fact, Boris claimed he suffered from sleepless nights and was unable to win a tennis tournament as a result of this stress.
The German tax authorities insisted on a 42-month jail sentence, but Boris narrowly escaped the German jails through the compassion of Judge Knoringer who fined him 500,000 Euros and gave him a suspended two-year sentence on the condition that he did not commit any offenses in the next 3 years.
Boris did plead guilty to tax evasion and was prohibited from running German companies as he was not trustworthy.
Boris moved permanently to the UK in 2012 and his German domicile made him eligible to make the remittance election. He declared bankruptcy in 2017 to avoid paying back loans for a property development venture. According to the British judge, he concealed assets of £1.8 million. The judge decided to sentence him to 2 years in prison as he did not heed the warning due to his earlier suspended sentence in the tax evasion case.
This harsh treatment affirms the serious consequences of tax evasion and individuals hiding their assets to circumvent the Insolvency Act. Boris is expected to serve a year in prison and should be out in time for the 2023 Wimbledon Championship.
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