Boris Becker’s creditors have been granted more time to pursue his assets, as government officials from the Central African Republic issued conflicting statements as to whether or not the former Wimbledon champion is one of the country’s diplomats.
Becker’s lawyers had claimed he had diplomatic immunity that would protect him from ongoing bankruptcy proceedings due to his recent appointment as the CAR’s Attache for Sports and Cultural Affairs in the European Union.
The CAR foreign minister said on Monday that he had never made the appointment. Charles Armel Doubane said his signature is required in order for a diplomat to be appointed.
“I never signed such documents,” he said. “The President never asked me to take the appropriate steps in the case of Boris Becker.”
However, he was swiftly contradicted by the CAR embassy in Brussels, who said Becker is one of its diplomats and has an office in Brussels to carry out his work as a sporting, cultural and humanitarian attache to the European Union.
“The Embassy sees no reason to comment on Mr Becker’s private insolvency. It does not affect the sincere efforts of Mr Boris Becker for our country,” the statement said, adding that Becker’s rights are covered by the Vienna Convention: “England has proved repeatedly that it adheres to diplomatic practices in exemplary fashion, respecting all diplomats and their rights.
“This will not be any different in the case of diplomat Becker.”
At a High Court hearing yesterday, Judge Sebastian Prentis said that he had seen a letter from the CAR stating that Becker has been issued with a diplomatic passport that expires in 2023.
Becker was declared bankrupt a year ago and the bankruptcy was due to be discharged today.
Both parties agreed that the discharge should be suspended.
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Lawyers acting for the bankruptcy trustees claim that Becker has not provided “full and accurate” information about his assets, naming two properties in Germany, a property in west London, an interest in three Mercedes dealerships and various tennis trophies and memorabilia.
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Becker’s barrister, Ben Emmerson QC, said his client may wish to apply for an injunction to block a sale of his trophies, due to be held at the end of July.
In a press release on Sunday, the embassy in Brussels stated that Becker “uses his international connections, especially in sports and culture. The embassy sees no reason to go along with Mr Becker’s private affairs. These do not interfere with Mr Becker’s sincere efforts for our country.”