Becker threatened with three years in jail for tax evasion

German state prosecutors called yesterday for the former tennis star Boris Becker to serve a three-and-a-half-year prison term for failing to pay €1.7m (£1.1m) of tax in Germany in the early 1990s.

At the opening of his trial in Munich on tax evasion charges, the state prosecutor Matthias Musiol said Mr Becker was clearly guilty because between 1991 and 1993 he had deceived the authorities by secretly living in a Munich apartment while claiming to be a resident of Monaco.

The three times Wimbledon champion admitted making "mistakes" over tax payments, and his lawyers disclosed that he had already paid €3m (£2m) owing in tax to the Munich fiscal authorities.

But the prosecution remained adamant that Mr Becker should go to prison: "The accused has done nothing to assist the investigation. He may have confessed and paid off his tax debts but this only happened at the last minute when it became clear that he was unlikely to be acquitted," Mr Musiol told the court after demanding that Mr Becker be jailed.

Defence lawyers are calling for a two-year suspended sentence, but legal observers said that if the judges upheld the prosecution's demands, Mr Becker would certainly go to jail because under German law the courts can not commute sentences of three years and above to suspended prison terms.

The court is due to pass sentence today.

At the start of the proceedings, Mr Becker told the court: "I admit that I made a mistake 10 years ago and I know that I will have to pay the consequences for that."

Claiming his rooftop apartment in the expensive Munich suburb of Bogenhausen was not his permanent place of residence, he insisted: "The accommodation provided at the Olympic Games is more comfortable. My apartment did not even have a fridge."

The 34-year-old also claimed to have only a scant knowledge of German tax legislation. "I still don't fully understand the ins and outs of the complicated tax system," he said, adding that he had been only interested in tennis and "now and again girls" during his career which began at the age of 16 when he officially moved to Monaco.

Mr Becker nevertheless blamed Munich tax officials for prematurely ending his tennis career in 1999 by making a series of raids on his own and his parents' premises in which crateloads of documents were confiscated. More than 50 files concerning the Becker case were on show in the court. "The strain was just too much," Mr Becker said.

The trial is the latest in a series of personal disasters to befall Mr Becker since he quit professional tennis.

Last year he was forced to pay an estimated €1.5m to a young Russian woman after he acknowledged fathering her child. The woman claimed she had sex with Mr Becker in the cloakroom of a London restaurant.

In January 1991, Mr Becker was divorced from his wife Barbara Feltus after an acrimonious break-up that ended with her taking their two sons to live in Miami. The settlement is reported to have cost him €10m. Two of Mr Becker's businesses have gone bankrupt over the past two years, and his villa in Majorca has become another focus of controversy. The building is still not complete after several years' construction.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower