German former tennis player Boris Becker has claimed diplomatic immunity in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy proceedings against him, British media reported on Friday.
The three-time Wimbledon champion was appointed as a sports attache to the European Union for the Central African Republic in April.
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He was declared bankrupt in June 2017 for a debt allegedly owed to private British bank Arbuthnot Latham since 2015 and he is still being pursued for "further assets."
Becker's lawyers said his position as an attache on sports, cultural and humanitarian issues gives him immunity from legal proceedings in any country under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
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Legal allegations could only be served on him through diplomatic channels with the consent of the foreign ministers of Britain and CAR, his lawyers said
This means the consent of UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his counterpart in Bangui would have to be secured before Becker was subjected to any legal proceedings, his lawyers said, according to the Press Association.
'Bring this farce to an end'
In documents lodged at the High Court in London on Thursday, Becker said he was stressing diplomatic immunity "in order to bring this farce to an end, so that I can start to rebuild my life."
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"The decision to commence bankruptcy proceedings against me was both unjustified and unjust," Becker added. "A bunch of anonymous bankers and bureaucrats pushed me into a completely unnecessary declaration of bankruptcy, which has inflicted a whole heap of damage on me."
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"Once this gravy train for the suits has been stopped in its tracks, my lawyers will turn to the question of compensation," he added.
Becker is being represented by former UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson, whose former high profile clients include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Amir.
Becker came into the spotlight at Wimbledon in 1985 when he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17, as an unseeded player. Throughout his career, he won more than $25 million (€21.6 million) in prize money.
law/sms (AFP, dpa)