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L’Equipe: Becker’s first days in prison ‘very hard’, hopes for release by end of year
In an investigation dedicated to the spiral that sent Boris Becker to prison for tax fraud, L’Equipe Magazine has gathered some indiscretions from people close to him
The former world No 1 Boris Becker was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in April for concealing £2.5 million from the British tax authorities in order to avoid paying his debts. Since then, he has been a very discreet prisoner, who has finally settled into his new life, and who hopes to be released from prison at the end of the year, according to French media L’Equipe Magazine in an investigation published on Friday.
His former mentor, Romanian Ion Tiriac, is one of the very few people to have news of the winner of six major trophies between 1985 and 1996 and to agree to speak publicly about the former German champion, now 54 years old.
“He told me by text message that the first days were very hard, that the prison was very secure but that things were getting better,” he told L’Equipe.
Becker’s personal bankruptcy in 2017
Originally incarcerated at Wandsworth Penitentiary, Becker was transferred to Huntercombe Prison, 44 miles from London. The facility is for foreigners only. A German national, Becker is said to have accepted a position teaching maths and English to other prisoners.
The cycle that led to Becker’s personal bankruptcy in 2017 was a combination of costly messes in his private life, risky investments, a lifestyle that he did not change after the end of his playing career, poor choices in his entourage, and management of his finances that did not comply with UK tax law, the latest episode in his downfall.
Lawyer: Becker thinks he has enough assets
Becker would never have found the confidence around him to receive the help that could have stopped the spiral, the article reports.
“We all knew he was in trouble via the press, but he told us that business was good,” says Mansour Bahrami, the Franco-Iranian former player, Becker’s contemporary and friend. “It’s not always easy to intervene and tell a friend that he doesn’t know where he’s going.”
His lawyer, Christian-Oliver Moser, denies the British tabloid allegations of star behaviour in prison. He also says that “from his point of view, (Becker) has always had sufficient funds and assets to pay his debts.”
His team is focusing on appeals and a reduction in sentence that would allow him to get out of prison before the end of the year before looking to his future activity. Becker has been a co-coach of Novak Djokovic and a TV pundit in recent years. He is regularly visited by his family, including his partner in life, model Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.