Ex-tennis star and BBC pundit Boris Becker will give evidence with the help of a translator
Old Grand Slam tennis champion and sports commentator Boris Becker will be helped by a German translator when he stands trial later this month on charges of failing to hand over the trophies of his illustrious career to settle his debts, a court has heard.
The 54-year-old German national, declared bankrupt in June 2017, is accused of failing to comply with information disclosure obligations.
This trophy is supposed to include the 1985 Wimbledon men’s singles title, which catapulted the then-unknown 17-year-old to stardom, as well as his Australian Open trophies in 1991 and 1996.
During a 15-minute pre-trial examination at Southwark Crown Court On Friday, defense barrister Jonathan Laidlaw QC said his client – who commented for the BBC at Wimbledon last year and at previous tournaments – would be assisted by a translator.
He told the court: “His English is good, as we all know. It’s just a strange word.
“When he speaks, it might be better if he speaks in German and it is translated into English.”
He said “a lot of personal stuff” will feature in his defense, of which he is expected to be the only live witness.
The judge, Her Honor Justice Deborah Taylor, said there had been “great interest” in the case from the international media.
The trial – which includes an indictment with more than 20 counts – is due to open on March 21 and last up to three weeks.
Becker is also accused of withdrawing hundreds of thousands of pounds by transferring them to other accounts, including ex-wife Barbara Becker and ex-wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.
Becker was not in court Friday.
The former world number one and six-time Grand Slam champion won 49 singles titles out of 77 finals during his 16 years as a professional tennis player.