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Tax Agents Probe Tennis Star Becker

July 29, 1998

MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ German investigators have raided about 30 locations linked to tennis star Boris Becker on suspicion that he evaded taxes on millions of dollars in earnings, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The agents searched offices and apartments of Becker’s friends and sponsors on Monday, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, the former No. 1 in the world and the country’s Davis Cup captain, remains one of Germany’s most popular personalities. He is in semi-retirement on the tennis circuit, playing only selected tournaments.

Becker and his former manager, Ion Tiriac, are suspected of evading taxes on millions of dollars of Becker’s earnings from 1990 to 1993.

Becker and Tiriac have rejected the accusations since they first surfaced in February last year. Prosecutors so far have declined to charge Becker and his former manager, indicating they did not believe they had a strong case.

The newspaper, in a report released in advance of its Wednesday edition, did not specify where the raids took place.

Tax authorities want to find out how much time Becker spent in Monte Carlo, the tax haven where he officially resided between 1990 and 1993.

Under German law, Becker would have had to spend at least 185 days in Monte Carlo to avoid paying German taxes. The investigators believe he spent most of the time in Germany, according to the report.

German tennis star Steffi Graf also has been linked to tax evasion.

Her father, Peter Graf, was sentenced in January 1997 to three years, nine months for evading taxes on $6.55 million of his daughter’s tennis earnings.

Graf, 59, was released from prison April 29 after serving more than half of the sentence, including time served when he was in investigative custody.

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