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Boris Becker Jailed For Two And A Half Years In UK For Hiding Assets

LONDON, April 29: Former tennis star Boris Becker was on Friday jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty by a British court of charges relating to his 2017 bankruptcy. The six-time Grand Slam champion, 54, will serve half of the term having being convicted at Southwark Crown Court in London over his transfer of huge amounts of money from his business account.

He also failed to declare a property in Germany and concealed 825,000 euros ($866,500) of debt and shares in a tech firm.

He was acquitted earlier this month of a further 20 charges, including nine counts of failing to hand over trophies and medals he won during his glittering tennis career.

Becker told jurors he did not know the whereabouts of the memorabilia, including two of his three Wimbledon men's singles trophies.

Judge Deborah Taylor had released Becker -- who won Wimbledon as an unseeded teenager -- on conditional bail ahead of her sentencing decision on Friday.

He arrived early for the hearing, wearing a striped purple and green tie in the Wimbledon colours, a white shirt and a charcoal grey suit.

He held hands with his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro as he walked into court past a bank of waiting reporters and cameras.

The former world number one told the jury how his $50 million (40 million pounds) career earnings were swallowed up by a costly divorce from his first wife Barbara Becker, child maintenance payments and "expensive lifestyle commitments".

Becker said he was "shocked" and "embarrassed" when he was declared bankrupt in June 2017 over an unpaid loan of more than 3 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

The German, who has lived in Britain since 2012, said he had cooperated with trustees trying to secure his assets, even offering his wedding ring, and relied on the advisers who managed his life away from tennis.

But the former player, who was supported in court by his partner and eldest son Noah, was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act.

Giving evidence, Becker said he earned a "vast amount" of money during his career, paying cash for several properties.

But the German, who went on to coach current world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, work as a TV sports commentator and act as a brand ambassador for firms including Puma, said his income "reduced dramatically" following his retirement in 1999.

Becker, who was resident in Monte Carlo and Switzerland before moving to the UK, said his financial commitments included his 22,000 pounds-a-month rented house in Wimbledon, south-west London.

He also owed the Swiss authorities five million francs (about $5.1 million) and separately just under one million euros in liabilities over a conviction for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany in 2002.

He said bad publicity had damaged "brand Becker", meaning he struggled to make enough money to pay off his debts.

His lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw said at the time of his bankruptcy that Becker was too "trusting and reliant" on his advisers.

Becker, with a shock of strawberry-blond hair, shook up the tennis world in 1985 when he became Wimbledon's youngest men's singles champion at 17 and repeated the feat the following year.

Nicknamed "Boom Boom" Becker for his ferocious serve, he won Wimbledon for a third time in 1989.

He also won the Australian Open twice and the US Open during his glittering career, becoming the top-ranked player in the world in 1991.

Becker turned to commentary after his retirement, landing a high-profile role on the BBC, but he returned to the court in 2013 to guide Djokovic, helping the Serb win six more Grand Slam trophies before the pair parted ways in 2016.

Shane Warne, Australian spin great, dies aged 52 of 'suspected heart attack'

BANGKOK, March 4: Shane Warne, Australian cricket great and the greatest leg-spinner of all time, has died at the age of 52. Warne's management released a brief statement on Friday informing that he passed away in the island of Koh Samui, Thailand, of a suspected heart attack.

"It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack in the Koh Samui, Thailand today, Friday 4th March," the statement said.

"Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived. The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course."

The shocking death comes hours after another Australian great, Rod Marsh had died less than 24 hours ago after a heart attack.

Approximately 12 hours ago, Warne had tweeted about Marsh's passing: "Sad to hear the news that Rod Marsh has passed. He was a legend of our great game and an inspiration to so many young boys and girls. Rod cared deeply about cricket & gave so much-especially to Australia & England players. Sending lots and lots of love to Ros and the family. RIP mate"

While not a lot is known at the moment barring the statement put out by the management team, it is to be noted that Warne had contracted Covid-19 last year in August. This was after the legendary leg-spinner had taken both dozes of the vaccine. A month after he had contracted the virus, Warne had revealed that his condition during Covid had deteriorated, to an extent that he had to be put on ventilator.

"It was a bit like a hangover, I had a pounding headache. The first couple of days, when I tested positive, I just had a thumping headache and I had one day where I had the shivers, but (was) sweating, like when you have the flu," Warne had told The Herald Sun. "I lost a bit of sense of taste for a few days, but after three or four days I was fine. I have apparently got the holy grail. I have been double vaccinated and I have had Covid, so I am meant to be absolutely fine now."

Warne's sudden passing has come as a huge shock to the entire cricketing fraternity.

Warne represented Australia in 145 Tests - the third most-capped Australia cricketer to have worn the Baggy Green behind Ricky Ponting and Allan Border - and 194 ODI, and finished his career with 1001 wickets. In Tests, with 708 wickets, he is the second-leading wicket-taker of all time behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan.

Having announced his retirement in 2007, Warne continued playing the IPL and the Big Bash League, and his last match of any form was back in 2015, when he captained Warne's Warriors against Sachin Tendulkar's SRT Blasters in three exhibition matches in the USA.

Lovingly known as 'Warney', Warne burst onto the scene in 1992 at the Sydney Cricket Ground and after a low-key series against India, it was during the 1993 Ashes that Warne announced himself on the world stage. He bowled the 'Ball of the Series' to dismiss England legend Mike Gatting - peach that pitched outside leg and spun sharply to clip the off stump - which is still talked about. For the next 14 years, he would go on to become a key figure in Australia's dominance in world cricket.

Warne was part of Australia World Cup win in 1999 and a five-time Ashes winner. Having captained Australia in ODIs, Warne was named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the 20th Century, alongside fellow Australian Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Vivian Richards of the West Indies and England's Jack Hobbs. In the 1990s and early 2000, Warne's battles with Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara proved to be the stuff of legends and produced many a memorable battle.

As much as Warne created magic on the field, his career was marred with controversies off it. In 1995, Warne and former teammates Mark Waugh were caught revealing information to an Indian bookie and were subsequently fined for the offence. In 2003, a day before the World Cup was to begin, Warne failed a drug test and was suspended from cricket for a year.

But despite the setbacks, Warne returned with a roar and in his comeback Test series against Sri Lanka in 2004, picked up four consecutive five-wicket-hauls. Warne retired along with fellow mate Glenn McGrath after Australia had swept England 5-0 in the 2007-07 Ashes.

Even when he was done playing international cricket, Warne, at the age of 37. associated with the Indian Premier League and as captain of Rajasthan Royals, led the franchise to a win in its inaugural edition in 2008. He would go on to play the next three seasons as well before taking up a coaching role with the franchise. In 2013, Warne was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. Recently, in January this year, Warne's documentary film 'Shane' was released capturing some of the most enthralling and never-before-seen moments of his career. He is survived by his three children Brooke, Jackson and Summer.



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