I have previously written a blog about Boris Becker and his bankruptcy in 2018.
Becker, who won three Wimbledon titles, was made bankrupt on June 21st 2017 in the London High Court. Normally, a bankrupt is released from their obligations to the Official Receiver and discharged from bankruptcy exactly one calendar year after they have been made bankrupt.
However, in the case of Boris Becker, the Official Receiver’s office believed he was dishonest and hiding assets from his Trustee and, therefore, creditors. Consequently, the Official Receiver pursued extended restrictions to prevent Becker causing further harm to his creditors. Becker signed a Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking (BRU), which was accepted by the Official Receiver’s office on 17th October 2019 and lasts for 12 years.
A BRU has the same effect as a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO) which is to prevent Becker from becoming a Company Director or taking on any credit. Becker was alleged to have hidden assets and transactions to the value of approximately £4.5million.
Becker’s problems arising from his bankruptcy have now escalated to another level as it has emerged that the Insolvency Service has brought a criminal prosecution against him. The first hearing took place on 24th September at Westminster Magistrates Court.
On the first day of his criminal trial, Becker formally denied charges of hiding assets, including a Chelsea flat and £1.2million in cash, from his Trustee in Bankruptcy. Becker has formally denied seven charges of concealing property, four counts of omitting statements relating to bank accounts with JP Morgan, two counts of removing bankruptcy estate property, five counts of failing to disclose details of his estate and one count of concealing debt.
The Chief Magistrate committed his case to the Crown Court as the sentencing powers in a Magistrates Court are insufficient. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, of any of the offences, is a 7-year jail term. He faces his first hearing on 22nd October.
Why is Boris Becker Being Prosecuted?
Bankrupts have a duty to fully cooperate with their Trustee and, where it is believed the Bankrupt is not cooperating fully, a BRU is required to be signed. If the Bankrupt refuses to sign the undertaking, then the matter can be taken to Court where a BRO would be sought by the Official Receiver.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the criminal case. My only experience of advising a client in this area arose when the client withdrew approximately £6,000.00 from a savings account containing £12,000.00 in between the presentation of his Bankruptcy Petition and the Bankruptcy Order being made. I defended him in the criminal prosecution at Manchester Magistrates Court where he received a high-level community penalty. The Magistrates had indicated that they were considering a prison term for his offence. Boris Becker is alleged to have hidden assets of approximately £4.5million, so I would suspect a jail term would be inevitable if found guilty!
If you require advice on any matters relating to debt, bankruptcy or insolvency, contact the team at Farleys who will be happy to assist. Call 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.