Tennis champion Boris Becker has said he is “surprised and disappointed” bankruptcy proceedings have been been brought against him.
Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon winner pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar in London on Wednesday for “a last chance” to pay a long-standing debt.
But Miss Registrar Christine Derrett, who recalled watching him play, said it was “with regret” she had concluded there was a lack of credible evidence that his “substantial” debt would be paid soon and she refused to adjourn the case for a further 28 days.
Following the court hearing, Becker tweeted:
Surprised and disappointed that Arbuthnot Latham choose to bring these proceedings against me !— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
This order relates to 1 disputed loan which
I was due to repay in full in 1 month time !— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
It is disappointing that my requested for today's hearing to be postponed was refused !
My earnings are well publicised and it was a clear that I have the means to repay this debt !— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
The value of the asset in question
Far exceeds the debt owed to bank !— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
I intend to make application to have this order set aside immediately!
In the meantime,
I will concentrate on my work and in particular my presenting duties at Wimbledon for the BBC and other international outlets !— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
To all my fans/supporters/followers:— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
Truly appreciate all your kind words!!!
I have been in this game for 32 years and intend to stay longer
As they say : your in Gods hands once your in the middle of the ocean or in front of a judge ...but life goes on— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) June 21, 2017
The bankruptcy order was announced by Miss Derrett at 11.23am on Wednesday after a brief hearing.
The application was made by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co in connection with a judgment debt owed them by Becker dating as far back as 2015.
Becker’s lawyers had argued there was sufficient evidence to show that the tennis ace would be able to pay the debt soon through a refinancing arrangement, involving remortgaging a property in Majorca, which was expected to raise six million euro (£5.3m).
His advocate told the registrar his instructions from Becker were that it was expected the deal would be approved by a Spanish bank in approximately one month.
The advocate said: “I don’t want to play around in court. It is clearly in the interests (of Arbuthnot Latham) for there to be refinancing.”
When the registrar was told that Becker was a television commentator, she replied that she knew who he was, adding: “I remember watching him play on Centre Court, which probably shows my age.”
His advocate, John Briggs, told the registrar that someone in Becker’s position would not be prone to benefit from bankruptcy and it was likely to have an adverse effect on his “image”.
The judge said: “He should have thought about that a long time ago.”
She added: “It is not often the case that a professional person has a judgment (debt) outstanding against them since October 2015. This is a historic debt.
“One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand.”
Mr Briggs said: “He is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances. I am asking for a real last chance for Mr Becker to come good… It has just taken longer than anticipated.”
Matthew Abraham, appearing for Arbuthnot Latham, argued there was a lack of credible evidence before the court to back up Becker’s claims that the remortgaging of his property would go ahead soon and allow him to pay his debts.
The evidence was only coming in the form of instructions from Becker to his latest legal team.
Credible evidence should have been put in at an earlier stage and it was now not good enough to ask for an extra 28 days, said Mr Abraham.
Agreeing to make an immediate bankruptcy order, the judge said: “I am not persuaded on the evidence before me that it can be described as credible evidence.”