Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity to end bankruptcy 'farce'


But Mr Becker's lawyers have told the court that their client has been appointed as ambassador to the Central African Republic.

The announcement came while Becker was being sued over money he allegedly owes to private bank Arbuthnot Latham, after the sports star's bankruptcy previous year. He has recently been pursued for "further assets", according to a statement by his lawyers.

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

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

"This means he can not be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognized diplomatic agent", his legal team wrote in a letter.

In the statement, Becker went on say he was immensely proud of his attache role for the Central African Republic which allows him to give something meaningful back to sports supporters in one of the poorest parts of the world.

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

"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", he said. "Sports is incredibly important in Africa and is fast becoming a universal language, a form of social diplomacy and a leveller between people from vastly different and unequal social background around the world", Becker wrote. A press release indicated he would have an office at the country's embassy in Brussels.

He said: "What you might say is where you are claiming diplomatic immunity because it directly flows from your job, it is right that immunity is both legal and morally sensible".

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 vehicle.

Becker is represented by lawyer Ben Emmerson, a former UN Special Rapporteur who has previously represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Amir, and Marina Litvinenko, the widow of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London in 2006.

A spokesman for the presidency said it was up to Becker to be responsible for his own actions. And coincidence or not, Beckers lawyers now argue that his diplomatic role grants him "diplomatic immunity under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations".

The convention also says that those entitled to immunity are expected to obey the law. Experts said that anyone could become a foreign diplomat if invited to do so by the country.

This includes foreign embassy staff, their families as well as worldwide organisations - such as the UN.