FILE - This is a June 29, 2016, file photo showing Boris Becker at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. Lawyers for Becker claimed in Britain’s High Court late Thursday June 14, 2018, that Becker's role as a sports attache for the Central African Republic gives him diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings.(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, FILE)

Retired tennis star Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity

June 15, 2018 - 5:33 am

LONDON (AP) — Retired German tennis star Boris Becker is claiming his role as a sports attache for the Central African Republic gives him diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings.

The three-time Wimbledon champion took up that role in April. His lawyers claimed in Britain's High Court late Thursday this protects him from ongoing bankruptcy actions.

He says his role as attache to the European Union on sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs means he is covered by a 1961 convention on diplomatic relations.

His legal team says he can only be subjected to legal proceedings with the consent of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his counterpart in the Central African Republic.

The 50-year-old Becker, who lives in Britain, was declared bankrupt in June 2017. He is selling some of his memorabilia including Wimbledon trophies in an effort to reduce his debts.

The former world number one criticized the bankruptcy proceedings as "unjustified and unjust," saying he had been pushed into an unnecessary declaration of bankruptcy by "a bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats" trying to damage him.

"I have now asserted diplomatic immunity as I am in fact bound to do, in order to bring this farce to an end, so that I can start to rebuild my life," Becker said.

Becker was named to the volunteer sport attache role on April 26, more than nine months after his bankruptcy declaration.

At the time, Central African Republic President Faustin Touadera said he was "extremely pleased that a world star like Boris Becker, with his extensive international relations, has agreed to support our country."

Becker said that day he hoped to help improve living conditions in the Central African Republic. A press release indicated he would have an office at the country's embassy in Brussels.

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