Tennis Great Takes Odd Defense in Bankruptcy Case

Boris Becker says his diplomatic post with Central African Republic means he's immune
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2018 11:19 AM CDT
Tennis Great Takes Odd Defense in Bankruptcy Case
CAR President Faustin Archange Touadera, left, shakes hands with retired German tennis star Boris Becker in Brussels, Belgium.   (Irle Moser Rechtsanwalte PartG via AP Images, FILE)

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker is claiming that a diplomatic role with the Central African Republic means he's exempt from bankruptcy proceedings in the UK. The 50-year-old declared bankruptcy in June 2017 over debts to private bank Arbuthnot Latham, reports the AP and BBC. He was named Central African Republic's sports attache to the European Union 10 months later on April 26. "This means he cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognized diplomatic agent," or until CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera lifts immunity at the British government’s request, his lawyers say.

"We're not responding to something that has nothing to do with us," says a CAR presidential spokesperson. Becker, meanwhile, calls the proceedings against him "unjustified and unjust," claiming his declaration of bankruptcy was forced by "a bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats." He adds, "I have now asserted diplomatic immunity as I am in fact bound to do, in order to bring this farce to an end, so that I can start to rebuild my life." A legal expert says his argument is valid, but CAR "should be asked to revoke his immunity for this particular case because it relates to his personal activities and predates his appointment." One nugget from the AP: It's not clear whether Becker has ever actually stepped foot in the Central African Republic. (Read more diplomatic immunity stories.)

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