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hearing Boris Becker accused of 'deliberately keeping his trophies' as court case continues

The former world number one is accused of failing to hand over nine awards, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles titles.

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Boris Becker denies a string of offences (PA)

Boris Becker denies a string of offences (PA)

Boris Becker denies a string of offences (PA)

Boris Becker claims he does not know where the trophies that made him a tennis star are because he is deliberately withholding them, it was claimed in court.

The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, was declared bankrupt in June 2017 over a £3.5 million loan from private bank Arbuthnot Latham for a property in Mallorca, Spain.

He is accused of failing to hand over nine awards, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles titles and his 1992 Olympic gold medal.

Mr Becker has maintained throughout he does not know where these items are. It is the prosecution case that this is fanciful and, in fact, he is deliberately withholding themProsecutor Rebecca Chalkley

The German has not handed over his glittering career’s “most important and valuable” memorabilia, including his 1991 and 1996 Australian Open trophies, Southwark Crown Court was told on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said: “Mr Becker has maintained throughout he does not know where these items are.

“It is the prosecution case that this is fanciful and, in fact, he is deliberately withholding them”.

Becker, a former world number one, told trustees tasked with securing his assets that one of his Wimbledon titles was in the Tennis Hall of Fame in Rhode Island, another was with the German tennis federation, while the third was given to his mother, the court heard.

He claimed the missing trophies are “not of significant value” or “great interest” to him and that “items were in various locations around the world”, the jury was told.

Ms Chalkley said: “Bearing in mind what they represent in terms of achievement and sacrifice for Mr Becker over the years, that they were not of great interest, regardless of their monetary value, lacks credibility.

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Boris Becker arriving at Southwark Crown Court (PA)

Boris Becker arriving at Southwark Crown Court (PA)

Boris Becker arriving at Southwark Crown Court (PA)

“These trophies are some of the most significant in Mr Becker’s career and arguably reflect the awards that made him the tennis star he is today.

“Therefore, it is not credible to say he did not know where they were.”

Becker, who commentated for the BBC at Wimbledon last year, also allegedly hid 1.13 million euros (about £950,000) from the sale of a Mercedes car dealership he owned in Germany, paying the money into his Boris Becker Private Office account.

He used the business account as a “piggy bank” to pay personal expenses, such as his children’s school fees, and to shop at luxury London department store Harrods, online grocer Ocado, and designer clothes retailer Ralph Lauren, the court was told.

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Becker is said to have transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

He also allegedly failed to declare two German properties, as well as his interest in a £2.25 million flat in Chelsea, west London, and hid an 825,000 euro (almost £700,000) bank loan.

Becker, who won 49 singles titles in 77 finals during his 16 years as a professional tennis player, is being supported in court by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.

He denies 24 offences under the Insolvency Act, including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and other awards, seven of concealing property, five of failing to disclose estate, two of removal of property and one of concealing debt.

He has a previous conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002 after living in the country while officially a resident of Monaco, the jury heard.

Ms Chalkley said the conviction shows his “propensity to lie to the authorities” in a bid to “evade financial responsibility and avoid financial disadvantage”.

She said: “This is the behaviour and conduct he has repeated here to avoid having to pay creditors the money they are owed.”

The trial continues.

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