London — German tennis legend Boris Becker has been freed from prison after serving eight months of a two-and-a-half year sentence and now faces deportation from the U.K., the British news agency Press Association reports.
The 55-year-old German, who’s lived in Britain since 2012, was released on Thursday morning ahead of his deportation, PA reported, without citing sources.
Britain’s Ministry of Justice confirmed to the Reuters news service that Becker had been released but didn’t immediately respond when asked about his deportation.
“Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity,” the Home Office said in a statement while not directly addressing Becker’s case, Reuters reported.
Becker wasfor illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after he was declared bankrupt.
He had been convicted by London’s Southwark Crown Court on four charges under the Insolvency Act, including removal of property, concealing debt and two counts of failing to disclose estate.
Becker has denied all the charges, saying he had cooperated with trustees tasked with securing his assets
He would normally have been due to serve at least 15 months before being eligible for release but reportedly was freed early as part of a program aimed at easing pressure on Britain’s overcrowded prisons, Agence France-Presse says.
The eventual six-time Grand Slam champion rose to stardom in 1985 at the age of 17 when he became the first unseeded player to win the Wimbledon singles title. He went on to win two more at the storied British court.
The former world number one tennis player was declared bankrupt in June 2017.
AFP cites The Sun newspaper as saying Becker’s mother 87-year-old mother, Elvira, told a friend her son’s release was “the best Christmas present I could hope for.”
“I cannot wait to hold my beloved son in my arms,” she was quoted as saying.
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