Bankrupt Boris Becker fights for diplomatic immunity to protect his wealth after becoming a sporting ambassador to Central African Republic
- Ex-Wimbledon champion declared bankrupty last year to clear his £54m debt
- He is in court attempting to claim immunity from the proceeding to creditors
- The 1961 Vienna Convention means he is not bound by legal processes in courts
Boris Becker is fighting to claim diplomatic immunity from his ongoing bankruptcy proceedings – using his role as a sports ambassador for the Central African Republic to do so.
The three-times Wimbledon champion declared bankruptcy last year in the hope of clearing his £54million worth of debt.
But he is now in court attempting to claim immunity from the proceedings by his creditors.
Yesterday Becker’s lawyers told the High Court the tennis star was appointed as a ‘sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs’ attache for the Central African Republic in April.
Boris Becker is fighting to claim diplomatic immunity from his ongoing bankruptcy proceedings
According to the 1961 Vienna Convention, Becker is not bound by legal processes in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent.
It means he will only have to pay his debts if the Central African Republic give their consent to debt collectors.
Becker said he was ‘immensely proud’ of his new appointment’, adding: ‘Sport is incredibly important in Africa and is fast becoming a universal language, a form of social diplomacy and a leveler between people from vastly different and unequal social backgrounds around the world.
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‘My diplomatic role in the Central African Republic allows me to give something meaningful back to sports supporters in one of the poorest parts of the world.
‘There is no reason why a role of this kind should be treated any differently to an appointment as a military or a trade attache, which everyone recognises as attracting diplomatic immunity.’
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.
Becker added in a statement: ‘A bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats pushed me into a completely unnecessary declaration of bankruptcy, which has inflicted a whole heap of damage on me, both commercially and professionally, and on those close to me.
‘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.
‘Once this gravy train for the suits has been stopped in its tracks, my lawyers will turn to the question of compensation. I will be coming after the people who forced this process through to hold them publicly accountable for their actions.’
Faustin Archange Touadera in Brussels appointing Boris Becker as the country’s Attache for Sports, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs
Mr Becker was able to swing the deal with the help of leading human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson QC
Mr Becker was able to swing the deal with the help of leading human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson QC, who has also acted for controversial Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, who was granted asylum by Ecuador. The human rights top brass was a former UN Special Rapporteur and sits as a judge on UN International Tribunals.
It is thought the tennis star was bankrupted by a £20million divorce and paternity settlements from his first wife Barbara, and the mother of his daughter Anna, Angela Ermakova. At the time, John Briggs, Mr Becker’s lawyer, said of Mr Becker: ‘He is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances.’
And the champion was handed yet another blow to his personal life when in May he split with his Dutch model wife of nine years, Lilly, 41, which ‘wasn’t an easy decision’.
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. Her career-high singles ranking was third in 2000.
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