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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Tennis great Boris Becker drops diplomatic-immunity claim

The German ace, 51, had lodged the claim earlier this year, successfully blocking a sale of his sporting trophies

Boris Becker’s bankruptcy proceedings and tangled private life have kept him in the news. AP
Boris Becker’s bankruptcy proceedings and tangled private life have kept him in the news. AP

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker on Monday dropped his claim of diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings because of his role as a sporting ambassador for the Central African Republic.

The German ace, 51, had lodged the claim earlier this year, successfully blocking a sale of his sporting trophies and personal memorabilia to recover debt.

Mr Becker’s lawyers had argued he was protected by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

But at a court hearing in London on Monday, Tony Beswetherick, acting for the bankruptcy trustees, said Mr Becker had written in an email that he had “no alternative but to abandon the claim for diplomatic immunity”.

The tennis star also wrote that he was “not in a position” financially to pursue any part of this case.

The sale of Mr Becker’s belongings, worth an estimated US$255,000 (Dh936,615), will now go ahead.

Mr Becker was declared bankrupt last year over money owed to private bank Arbuthnot Latham.

His immunity claim had caused international criticism.

The Central African Republic said Mr Becker’s diplomatic passport was part of a batch that had been stolen in 2014.

Mr Becker countered saying that he had received it directly from one of the war-torn country’s ambassadors.

As a player, Becker shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the youngest male Grand Slam champion, at the age of 17, defending the trophy the following year.

The German went on to enjoy a glittering career and amassed more than $25 million in prize money.

But his tangled private life has also kept him in the news.

He has a daughter conceived in a brief but now famous encounter with a Russian model who claimed she met Mr Becker at a London bar and had sex with him in a broom cupboard at a nearby Japanese restaurant.

In January, Becker appealed for help in tracking down five missing Grand Slam trophies, which he said he needed to sell to help pay off his debts.

At a hearing in June, lawyers acting for the bankruptcy trustees said Mr Becker had not provided “full and accurate information” about his assets.

The allegations relate to two German properties and a property in London, as well as various tennis trophies.