Sunday 30 April 2017

Becker's luxury villa seized over 'unpaid' €276,000 garden bill

Tony Paterson in Berlin

BORIS BECKER'S luxury Mallorcan villa was yesterday reported to have been impounded by authorities on the Spanish holiday island because the former Wimbledon star allegedly failed to pay bills totalling more than a quarter of a million euros to his gardener.

Becker's opulent Finca Son Coll is estimated to be worth €15m. It boasts a swimming pool of "Olympic dimensions", an amphitheatre, and a tennis court which is said to feature net posts salvaged from Wimbledon's legendary Court 2, where he won fame at the age of 17 in 1985.

Mallorcan media reports said the island's authorities had impounded Son Coll because Becker had failed to meet bills totalling €276,000 covering the upkeep of the villa's 75-acre grounds.

Becker told German newspaper Bild yesterday: "It's not so dramatic. If someone believes they have been treated unjustly, it is up to them to seek compensation. I can't say any more because legal proceedings are under way." But he added: "from mid-July on, I will be here and setting up my annual summer camp with my family as usual."

His lawyers maintain that under an agreement reached with estate agent Matthias Kühn, the outstanding gardening bill can be paid only when the property is sold off. However, the estate agent insists that it is not responsible for settling Becker's gardening debts.

"Becker's Finca has, so to speak, been confiscated by his gardener. If the former tennis star does not agree to pay up, the villa will be sold off at auction," the island's German language Mallorca Zeitung newspaper read yesterday.

Son Coll has caused financial headaches for the tennis legend since he bought the property with his former wife, Barbara, in 1997. A builder is reported to have lodged a claim for about €500,000 for allegedly unpaid work.

Becker, who has been in London to commentate on the current Wimbledon championship, was fined more than €200,000 in 2004 for making unauthorised changes to the traditional Mallorcan farmhouse, which is located near Arta in the north-east of the island.

The property contains a Moroccan-style living room, basketball and tennis courts, riding stables and a large garden. The amphitheatre, which Becker had specially built, is intended for rock concerts.

Despite being on the market since 2007, Son Coll has failed to attract a buyer. Becker had to pay about €10m to his former wife, Barbara, as part of their divorce settlement.

The break-up followed a sexual encounter between Becker and Russian Emigre Angela Ermakova in the cleaning cupboard of a London restaurant in 1999. Becker is thought to have paid £1m (€1.23m) for a London apartment for Ms Ermakova and Anna, the daughter who resulted from their encounter.

The former tennis champion, who has faced charges of tax evasion in Germany, lives in Switzerland and has remarried. (©Independent News Service)

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