Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity in bankruptcy case
Former tennis champion Boris Becker is claiming diplomatic immunity against an attempt to sue him.
The German claims his appointment as a diplomat by the Central African Republic affords him protection from any legal claims.
The three-time Wimbledon winner was declared bankrupt last year after he failed to pay a long-standing debt to private bank Arbuthnot Latham and Co which he had owed since 2015.
The London-based bank is now pursuing him for "further assets".
But on April 27, Becker tweeted he had been appointed by the Central African Republic as its attache for sports/humanitarian/cultural affairs in the European Union.
A day later he tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera at his appointment in Brussels.
In his defence lodged with the UK's High Court, Becker is claiming diplomatic immunity from any attempt by Arbuthnot Latham to "prolong or further enforce" previous bankruptcy proceedings.
Becker's lawyers argue that his post as attache attracts diplomatic immunity under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which means he "cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent".
Through his lawyers, Becker said the bank's decision to sue him was "both unjustified and unjust".
"A bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats pushed me into a completely unnecessary declaration of bankruptcy, which has inflicted a whole heap of damage on me," he said.
"Once this gravy train for the suits has been stopped in its tracks, my lawyers will turn to the question of compensation.
"I will be coming after the people who forced this process through to hold them publicly accountable for their actions."
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.
"There's no reason why a role of this kind should be treated any differently to an appointment as a military or a trade attache, which everyone recognises as attracting diplomatic immunity," he said.
"Boom boom" Becker, who earned the nickname for the thud of his powerful serve, became the youngest Wimbledon champion when he took the first of his three titles in 1985 aged just 17.
He stacked up six grand slam titles but in recent years his life has been a roller coaster. He lost much of his fortune, had a messy divorce and became the butt of jokes for his flings.
He fathered a child with a Russian model after a brief sexual encounter in the laundry cupboard of a Japanese restaurant in London after his final Wimbledon match while his wife was pregnant.
The 50-year-old, who was born in Germany, coached Novak Djokovic and has worked as a TV commentator.
In 2002, he was found guilty of tax evasion, but not jailed.