Boris Becker no longer bankrupt after High Court ruling


Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker’s bankruptcy has been discharged after a High Court judge said he had done “all that he reasonably could do” to meet his financial obligations.

The German was declared bankrupt on June 21 2017, owing creditors almost £50 million over an unpaid loan of more than £3 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

Bankruptcy orders end after a year in England and Wales, but a judge agreed to suspend the automatic discharge of the order in 2018 due to Becker “failing to comply with his obligations”, meaning he was still bound by its terms.

Last month, the High Court in London heard Becker still owed creditors around £42 million, but lawyers for the six-time grand slam champion asked a specialist bankruptcy judge to lift the suspension, arguing Becker had done “the best possible he is capable of doing” to meet his obligations.

At the end of the hearing on April 24, Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Nicholas Briggs lifted the suspension, with Becker’s bankruptcy ending automatically on Saturday as a result.

Giving written reasons for his decision on Wednesday, Judge Briggs said it would be “perverse” not to lift the suspension.

He said: “On the spectrum of bankrupts who range from ‘difficult as possible and doing everything to frustrate the trustee’s inquiries’ to ‘co-operative, providing information and delivering up assets’, Mr Becker clearly falls on the right side of the line.

“Mr Becker has signed a statement of truth, engaged solicitors to ensure compliance with his obligations and entered a settlement agreement that benefits the joint trustees.

“I accept his evidence and find that objectively he has done all that he could reasonably do to fulfil his obligations to the joint trustees.”

After being made bankrupt, Becker, a former world number one, was jailed for two-and-a-half years in April 2022 after being found guilty of four offences related to hiding £2.5 million worth of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.

He was acquitted of 25 other charges, including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and medals from his tennis career.

Boris Becker has won six grand slam titles (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Boris Becker has won six grand slam titles (Anthony Devlin/PA)

At the hearing last month, Katie Longstaff, representing the joint trustees, said that while the application to lift the suspension was not opposed, she said “for the record obviously we do not support it”, claiming “the creditors are still owed £42 million-odd”.

Louis Doyle KC, representing Becker, said the former BBC commentator and his trustees had “been able to resolve their differences” through a settlement agreement.

He said: “That agreement has been formalised in writing. It affects a compromise of all outstanding matters in the bankruptcy although that is predicated on Mr Becker making payment which will have the effect of providing a substantial sum into the bankruptcy estate.”

Mr Doyle told the court that the resolution “includes the outstanding trophies” and that Becker “can’t do more than he has done to bring us to this point”.

He continued: “What the court should do, objectively speaking, is not to ask whether the bankrupt has done everything down the last dotted I and crossed T in terms of compliance, but whether in fact what he has done constitutes in the circumstances the best possible he is capable of doing in order to meet his obligations.”