LONDON — Boris Becker, at a mere 49 years of age, has managed to both amass and squander a remarkable personal fortune. The tennis champ, once married to Miami’s Barbara Becker, was declared bankrupt in London on Tuesday, with a whopping $4.2 million in arrears to a private bank.
It was no one event that brought Becker low. Some of his massive expenditures include:
· An enormous Majorcan party-villa built in the ‘90s;
· A $3.17 million German tax bill;
· A judgment of $285,000 to a landscape gardener that worked in connection with the Majorcan property; and
· Further judgments of $437,000 and $1.01 million to an unpaid Spanish builder and a business partner in an organic foods firm respectively.
Ultimately, though, the biggest financial hits Becker took resulted from a sordid interlude in the broom closet of London’s Nobu restaurant nearly 2 decades ago.
Becker indulged in an illicit quickie at Nobu with Russian model Angela Ermakova—while, it should be noted, he was still married to Barbara, who at the time was pregnant with his child.
As fate would have it, Ermakova also found herself with child, and gave birth 9 months later to Becker’s daughter Anna Ermakova, now 17.
A paternity suit brought by Angela cost Becker $2.5 million, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The ensuing divorce brought by Barbara found Becker paying out $13.9 million in cash, plus his Miami residence and another $2.5 million in legal fees, to say nothing of his lengthy child support obligations for his young children with Barbara.
As bleak a picture as all of this paints, the German athlete is not without certain financial options. Presently, he gives speeches with a price tag of $25,000 and up, and he provides tennis commentary for television, notably the BBC. (Becker may have to take a hiatus from the latter, though, to attend an asset disclosure meeting at the Insolvency Service.)
Registrar Christine Derrett of the Bankruptcy and Companies court still remained unconvinced of the value of Becker’s prospects.
Despite assertions from Becker and his attorneys that the tennis pro could raise the money to pay his debts, Derrett decided to declare him bankrupt at the request of the Arbuthnot Latham bank, stating that she was “not persuaded that the evidence before me can be described as credible evidence” that Becker could pay.
Derrett further cited “no evidence of other personal assets sufficient to discharge the debt.”
The interest on Becker’s debt is rising by an estimated $857 a day, and he has been asked for an additional $65,000 in costs.
Becker’s barrister, the fancy British word for lawyer, John Briggs brought forth the defense that his client was “not a sophisticated person when it comes to finances.”
Judging from the facts of the case, this could safely be described as an understatement nearly as dramatic as Becker’s level of debt itself.