Boris Becker claims CAR diplomatic immunity in bankruptcy case

Former tennis champion Boris Becker is claiming diplomatic immunity against an attempt to sue him.

The three-time Wimbledon winner claims his appointment as a diplomat by the Central African Republic (CAR) affords him protection from any legal claims.

Mr Becker was declared bankrupt in 2017 over money owed to private bank Arbuthnot Latham. He is now being pursued for “further assets”.

The conflict-ridden CAR is one of the world’s poorest countries.

It made Mr Becker a sport and culture attache to the EU in April 2018.

https://twitter.com/TheBorisBecker/status/989853343131586561

Mr Becker’s defence has been lodged in the High Court.

His lawyers maintain he cannot be made subject to any legal process unless CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera specifically lifts his immunity at the request of the British government.

His legal team said: “This means he cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent.”

The former tennis champion said the proceedings were “unjustified and unjust” and being declared bankrupt “inflicted a whole heap of damage on me”.

He said he was asserting diplomatic immunity to “bring this farce to an end” and stop “the gravy train for the suits”.

Mr Becker added: “I am immensely proud of my appointment [by] the Central African Republic… sport is incredibly important in Africa and is fast becoming a universal language.”

His photo appears on the website of the CAR’s embassy in Brussels, and a caption describes him as its attache for sport, culture and humanitarian affairs.

But BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams said in the CAR there appeared to be confusion over Mr Becker’s role and a government official said he had not been not aware the post existed.

An Indian and a Kazakh businessman, as well as a former adviser to the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, have all at various times attempted to avoid legal action in Europe by citing diplomatic immunity from the CAR.