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Boris Becker scores court victory

Published on 18/12/2003

18 December 2003

MUNICH – Former German tennis star Boris Becker Thursday won a court ruling rejecting a claim against him for more than EUR 1.5 million following the failure of a business venture.

A civil court in Munich rejected the demand for damages from the insolvency administrator of a failed Internet firm.

Instead 36-year-old Becker, who had invested in the short-lived Internet portal Sportgate, was liable only to make a payment of EUR 5,708, the court ruled.

The insolvency administrator, Hartwig Albers, had earlier rejected a settlement suggested by the court of between EUR 150,000 and EUR 300,000.

Albers said Becker had signed a document committing him to cover any losses by the Internet firm. But the court said the claim for payment should have been made before insolvency proceedings began.

Becker told the court earlier he had signed the document following a meeting in a Washington bar with former Pixelpark chief executive Paulus Neef under the impression that it was not binding for more than just a brief period of time.

“And Neef told me he was planning to invest EUR 10 million in Sportgate, so I never dreamt I was letting myself in for any kind of risk,” Becker told the court.

The ruling comes 14 months after the same Munich court handed Becker a suspended two-year jail term for tax evasion and ordered him to pay EUR 500,000.

The three-time Wimbledon winner, who had avoided a jail sentence, described the ruling at the time as his “biggest victory”.

Subject: German news