Becker claims immunity from bankruptcy

Tanya Simon
June 17, 2018

Boris Becker at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, in 2014.

But Mr Becker's lawyers have told the court that their client has been appointed as ambassador to the Central African Republic.

Tennis ace Boris Becker has cited his role as sports attache to the Central African Republic to claim diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings.

The three-time Wimbledon champion took up the attache role in April.

Becker's lawyers argue that his post as attache attracts diplomatic immunity under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which means he "cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent".

But he is now in court attempting to claim immunity from the proceedings by his creditors.

But he was declared bankrupt in June 2017 by Registrar Christine Derrett.

The tennis champion is now selling memorabilia of his career including Wimbledon trophies to help pay off his debts.

The German former champion claimed the proceedings against him were "unjustified and unjust" and that he was invoking his diplomatic immunity to "bring this farce to an end" and stop "the gravy train for the suits".

Becker was named to the volunteer sport attache role on April 26, more than nine months after his bankruptcy declaration.

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Athletes born in the Central African Republic include former professional tennis player Nathalie Tauziat, now 50, who was the runner-up in women's singles at the 1998 Wimbledon Championships, having switched allegiance to represent France.

Central African Republic has suffered a string of bloody political crises since former president Francois Bozize seized power in a 2003 military coup. A press release indicated he would have an office at the country's embassy in Brussels.

If the same logic were to be applied in Becker's case, the long-time British resident might discover that he isn't protected by his work with the Central African Republic after all.

The landlocked Central African Republic is one of the world's most impoverished countries, destabilized by deadly sectarian violence since 2013 with thousands of people of killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

A defiant Becker said last night he was "immensely proud" of his new role - and attacked the "bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats" chasing him for money.

Auto presidential spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme told BBC Afrique the proceedings brought against Mr Becker had nothing to do with the vehicle.

"We're not responding to something that has nothing to do with us", spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme said.

Experts have said his decision to become a diplomat could protect all the money he earns from commentating next fortnight at Wimbledon from debt collectors.

Attacks by armed groups surged again previous year in parts of the country of 4.5 million people, sending thousands of people fleeing from their homes.

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